Sunday, 30 November 2014

Agriculture forum urges independence

Panellists called for the agriculture sector to be organised independent of political interests at a recent debate on agricultural reform at Kasetsart University.  Speaking at the forum, Pornsil Patcharintanakul, the vice-chairman of the Thai Chamber of Commerce, suggested a law should be passed to prevent politicians from interfering with the allowance of subsidies. Nipon Poapongsakorn, from the Thailand Development Research Institute, said he agreed with Mr Pornsil, and that amounts designated to the sector must also be carefully monitored. Nipon Poapongsakorn, from the Thailand Development Research Institute, said he agreed with Mr Pornsil, and that amounts designated to the sector must also be carefully monitored.

Uganda agriculture underfunded

KAMPALA, Uganda - A Civil Society Organization, Budget Advocacy Group (BAG), has asked the government to increase support for Uganda’s agricultural research institutions. 
Speaking during a public dialogue on financing agriculture last week, Julius Mukunda the BAG Coordinator said the government mandated the task to the development partners. 
Mukunda said: “Financing the country’s agricultural research projects should be a government responsibility. Leaving the research agenda to be driven by the development partners has big implications  on the country’s food security.”
He said the donors will fund research geared at supporting the growth of cash crops as raw materials for their industries. 
The dialogue was attended by scientists, legislators and other CSO representatives.
Mukunda said the country’s earnings will continue declining if scientists are not supported in their bid to develop new technologies to solve the current challenges hindering productivity.
“Scientist should be supported to come up with new technologies that can address agricultural challenges like the outbreak of diseases. This can be done through developing crop varieties that are resistant to such diseases.” he said 
Mukunda argues that for this to be achieved the government should invest in scientific research so that new innovations are developed by various research institutions.
Uganda has a well-established agricultural scientific research institutions under  the National Agriculture Research Organization (NARO).  However because of inadequate funding and lack of farming equipment, utilization is well below 100%.
The five major NARO Research institutes are; 
- National crops Resources Research Institute
- National fisheries Resources Research Institute
- National Forestry Resources Research Institute 
- National Livestock Resources Research Institute  
- National Semi Arid  Resources  Research  Institute
To supplement these initiatives are  the National Agricultural Research  Laboratories spread across the country.
Presenting a paper on Public Financing for the Agriculture Research:  “Understanding Budget Priorities for NARO,” Dr Evlyn Komutunga a senior researcher at NARO said the research institutions relay on funding by development partners. Some of the development partners include Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation  which  gave NARO  a $2.4million grant.
Other donors include the Rockefeller Foundation   which is funding research in non priotized   areas such as climate change and soil testing. Others include regional research organizations such as the Association of Strengthening Agriculture Research in Central and Eastern Africa (ASERECA) and the Government of Uganda. 
Komutunga said Government needs to increase funds it allocates  to agriculture. In the financial year 2014/2015 the ministry of agriculture was allocated Ush430 billion up from the Ush405.3 billion in 2013/14.
According to participants the   budget is too small to finance the sector which is considered to be the backbone of the country’s economy.  It was suggested the budget should be increased to about Ush1 trillion  (about $36.6million.)

Agriculture conference in Abu Dhabi ‘will shape farming’

The Global Forum for Innovations in Agriculture will be held in Abu Dhabi in March next year.
In partnership with the Abu Dhabi Food Control Authority, the conference will feature more than 300 agricultural solutions that, say the organisers, could shape the future of sustainable farming around the world.
With global policymakers and scientists tasked with identifying innovative ways to feed a population of more than nine billion people by 2050, the forum will aim to accelerate the development of solutions that meet the world’s pressing challenges.
It will also bring together participants from the agricultural value-chain – from agribusiness and academia to policy and investment — to witness more than 400 presentations of ideas with the potential to change the way food is produced, processed, stored, distributed and consumed.
“As the world looks to support sustainable economic and social development into the 21st century and beyond, the solutions we identify to our food and water security challenges today will define the future of our nations,” said Mohammed Jalal Al Rayssi, chairman of the organising committee at the food authority.
“Furthermore, with climate-smart food production being a critical factor for the UAE and other water-constrained parts of the Mena region, Abu Dhabi is strongly committed to driving the global dialogue on food security and climate resilience and this event reinforces that commitment.”
The forum will also include a newly launched hosted scientist programme, an initiative that will assemble 300 of the world’s leading scientists in Abu Dhabi, to establish a scientific crucible for discussion, knowledge sharing and the advancement of research.
A research and collaboration zone will allow academics from across the developed and developing world to meet, share knowledge, collaborate, and network with investors to commercialise breakthrough ideas.

Agriculture to remain a key business sector, says DPM

Deputy Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin said Sunday, the agriculture sector will continue to be enhanced to make it among the major contributors of the economy.
He said agriculture’s contribution may not be as big as before but its importance was in line with the government’s commitment to ensure food security.
“With a growing population, I believe that agriculture will continue to be an important economic sector for the country,” he said when closing the Malaysian Agriculture, Horticulture and Agro-tourism Show (MAHA) 2014 here.
Also present were Agriculture and Agro-Based Industry Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob and his deputy, Tajuddin Abdul Rahman.
He said the ministry’s initiatives to modernise agriculture via the latest technologies and innovations would be continued.
“The rate of technology commercialisation in agriculture is at 14 per cent, higher than the national average of 7 per cent, with a value of RM1.5 billion.
Muhyiddin said the application of technology would increase production adding it could be achieved by collaborating with institutions of higher education.
He also wanted the slogan “Agriculture is Business” to be fully understood by farmers that have a role in the economic development of the country.
“Farmers and fishermen need not worry as agriculture will remain a key economic sector. Keep up the good work by introducing technology and innovation.”

Abu Dhabi to host second edition of ‘Global Forum for Innovations in Agriculture’ from March 9-11, 2015

The second edition of the Global Forum for Innovations in Agriculture (GFIA) is set to take place in Abu Dhabi from March 9-11, 2015. Held under the patronage of H.H. Sheikh Mansour Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister of the UAE, Minister of Presidential Affairs and Chairman of Abu Dhabi Food Control Authority and in strategic partnership with the Abu Dhabi Food Control Authority (ADFCA), the exhibition and conference will feature more than 300 next-generation agricultural solutions that could shape the future of sustainable farming around the world.
With global policy makers and scientists tasked with identifying innovative ways to feed a population of more than nine billion people by 2050, GFIA will aim to accelerate the development of solutions that meet the world’s pressing challenges.
GFIA will bring together participants from the entire agricultural value-chain – from agribusiness and academia to policy and investment – to witness more than 400 presentations of game-changing ideas with the potential to fundamentally change the way food is produced, processed, stored, distributed and consumed.
“As the world looks to support sustainable economic and social development into the 21st century and beyond, the solutions we identify to our food and water security challenges today will define the future of our nations,” said Mohamed Jalal Al Rayssi, Chairman of the Organising Committee, at Abu Dhabi Food Control Authority.
“Furthermore, with climate-smart food production being a critical factor for the UAE and other water-constrained parts of the MENA region. Abu Dhabi is strongly committed to driving the global dialogue on food security and climate resilience and this event reinforces that commitment. We look forward to welcoming some of the world’s leading experts in this field.”
The inaugural Global Climate-Smart Agriculture Summit will serve as key element of the 2015 event. The summit has been developed under the guidance of the Global Alliance for Climate Smart Agriculture launched during the UN Climate Summit in New York in September 2014. Climate-Smart Agriculture is a strategic farming approach designed to raise agricultural productivity whilst mitigating the effects of climate change.
The alliance includes more than 20 governments, 30 organizations and companies including the World Bank, The Netherlands government, and the Food & Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. It represents millions of farmers, at least a quarter of the world cereal production, 43 million undernourished people and 16 percent of the total agricultural greenhouse gas emissions.
“GFIA is unique in that it attracts all the players – from across the full food value chain – needed to effect real change in the way we feed the world,” said Mohamed Jalal Al Rayssi.
“From policy-makers and governments to food producers, commercial organizations, bilateral and multilateral development agencies and investors, GFIA is a stage that helps actualize real progress. This harmonization approach is essential if we are to meet the challenge of feeding a rapidly growing global population.”
The second edition of GFIA will also include newly-launched ‘Hosted Scientist Programme’ an initiative that will assemble 300 of the world’s leading scientists in Abu Dhabi, to establish a scientific crucible for discussion, knowledge sharing and the advancement of research.
A ‘Research & Collaboration Zone’ will allow academics from across the developed and developing world to meet, share knowledge, collaborate, and network with investors to commercialize breakthrough ideas.
In addition, the GFIA conferences – featuring 250 speakers – will address a range of key issues critical to the future of global agriculture and food production, including:
• Solutions for the reduction of post-harvest losses and food waste;
• ICT in agriculture: how ICT can promote sustainable and climate resilient agriculture;
• Land restoration and agroforestry: restoration of the world’s degraded arable land;
• Non-conventional water use and agriculture in arid climates;
• Edible cities: growing the food where the majority of the world’s population lives; and
• Workshops on aquaculture and indoor agriculture.
GFIA is sponsored by the Food Security Centre – Abu Dhabi, Exeed Industries and the Federation of UAE Chambers of Commerce & Industry. And held with official support from the UAE Ministry of Environment & Water, with a keynote speech planned by H.E. Dr. Rashid Ahmed Bin Fahad, Minister of Environment and Water, UAE.

Danone offended by Russian agriculture minister's statement

Danone Russia has angrily assailed Russian Agriculture Minister Nikolai Fyodorov's critical remarks about it and wants Fyodorov to denounce them as damaging the company's business reputation.
It said in a statement, citing media reports, that Agriculture Minister Nikolai Fyodorov had accused two largest food companies working in Russia - Danone and PepsiCo (Will-Bill-Dunn) - of faking their products and damaging Russian producers.
Danone Russia and all of its employee are profoundly insulted by this statement, the company said. It was offended by a statement of this kind coming from an official, and sees it as a direct slander, which damages its business reputation in Russia and abroad, it said. Danone Russia has been setting an example of high quality standards and food safety to other companies , which has been proven on many occasions in checks, conducted by Rospotrebnadzor and other oversight agencies, the statement says.
The company also said that it had been putting large resources and efforts into projects to promote the development of farming in Russia, to train personnel, to expand and perfect the farms in operation, and to build new ones.
Danone has been working on the Russian market for more than 20 years, the statement says. It arrived in Russia with serious intention and plans to work for long, and wants to continue working for the benefit of its consumers, clients and suppliers, Danone said. The company has 20 factories in Russia, while Danone and Unimilk's aggregate investment in Russia exceeds $2 billion, the company said.
Danone Russia demanded that the claims damaging its reputation be publicly refuted.
Fyodorov urged regional governors at a conference in Omsk on Friday to monitor more carefully companies working on the Russian dairy market which, he said, were skimming cream off agricultural producers. He blamed the two companies for counterfeiting and replacing a large part of milk fat with vegetable oil.

The dynamics of the agriculture have changed

In the last couple of years, Nigeria has witnessed a gradual growth of youth involvement in agriculture. RUTH OLUROUNBI caught up with one of the young players in the sector, Olawale Ojo, who insisted that agribusiness is fundamental to Nigeria’s economic development.
What is Agropreneur9ja and what do you people do?
Agropreneur Naija is one of the services rendered by an agribusiness enterprise called AGROPRENEUR Nigeria. Its focus is on young people who are either interested in agriculture or who are already into it. The main thrust of activities is to use social media to promote, sensitise and inform the youth about agriculture, the opportunities embedded in it and how they can successfully be part of the revolution in agribusiness across the world especially in Africa and by extension Nigeria.
How is Agropreneur9ja?
Agropreneur Naija has existed for two years and a half now with lot of advancement and achievements along the way.
What roles do you, as a young person in this sector, think the private sector needs to play to boost agribusiness in Nigeria?
The private sector has a huge role to play in Nigeria. They are numerous but let me highlight a few: They have the role of been in business. They shape they market by not only responding to demand but also ensure they set the standard to make the agribusiness environment favourable to all players; the private sector also have the role of driving change via their engagement with government and not for profit organisations and they also have the role of helping to shape policies.
Also, the private sector players are also to be friends of farmers, they are to provide them with quality input, financial literacy, technical training , linkages to market and also enhance technology adoption across the value chain.
We both know that the potential of the agriculture sector in Nigeria is huge. What I’d like for you to walk me through is how huge these potential and opportunities are. Could you do that for me please?
The potential for agricultural development in Nigeria is indeed huge. And this potential can only be seen when we take a value chain approach. Agriculture is not only about farming. Three fundamental things have been observed as achievements for countries that have put agriculture first- food security, wealth creation (economic stability at households) and employment for many.
To explore the potential we have in agriculture, let me use a crop we are all used to – rice.  To have what we eat at the end of the day a lot of activities and actors are involved. First, we look at the seed producers, the distributors and then retailers who in turn sell the seed to the farmers.
The farmers take up the seeds, buy farm inputs (agro chemicals, sprayers, fertilizer etc) they then have to prepare the land either manually or mechanically. People are paid wages to plant, at some point individuals are gotten to either weed or spray the field. Fast forward, individuals engage in harvesting, threshing and bagging.
To get it to the market, another set of individuals are involved in transporting the produce. The produce is either sold directly at the market or aggregators come to buy from the farmers. This then goes on to the factories where we have another set of individuals involved in the various processing stages from cleaning the paddy to bagging the final produce that comes to our tables via distributors, retailers and market women and men.
This is just when we look at the farming sector, we have not explored the research world, academics, extension services, storage, export etc. The dynamics of the agriculture world has changed and we no longer live in a time when a farmer produces for himself and some for sales. The environment has become competitive with the need to link farmers to markets, in a business oriented and demand driven approach to be able to meet the needs of globalization, rapid urbanisation, rising incomes and changing diets. Thus you see that there is lot of potential for us.
As a player in the agric sector, what, in your views, are needed to strengthen the sector in terms of production, technology and personnel?
To strengthen, the sector more work needs to be done in research, linking research to the field or farmers, enhancing adaptation of these technologies via trainings, proper extension service is a must to. Aside this mechanisation has to be given a priority. If we want to meet the rising demand and also ensure we have the next generation of farmers (youth) on board then we cannot continue with the hoe and cutlass method.  Agriculturist need to have access to technologies and machines to enhance productivity across the value chain. Cottage industries need to be put in place in rural communities. ICT for agriculture needs to be implemented at all levels of the value chain.
The public sector will have to serve as enablers for the private sectors. Ensure research and development is given priority, Provision of infrastructures to enhance productivity these includes irrigation, rural roads, storage facilities etc. Favorable policies also need to be put in place and implemented. The private sector also have the role of ensuring they are not profit driven only but that their delivery be it product or services are of best quality and meets the need of their market.
As a company we are involved both in animal and crop production. Coupled with advocacy and capacity building of young farmers as we believe they have the role of taking agriculture in Nigeria to the next level.
From your perspective, do you think agribusiness is the only way of increasing and developing Nigeria’s economy?
Agribusiness is fundamental but not the only thing needed. We need continuous quality research; we need to have our universities filled with academician that know not just text book agriculture. Policy makers also need to be up and doing. Extension service needs to be enhanced to meet the needs of the sector. The financial institutions also need to step up to the reality of the agriculture sector. Effect regulatory system and agencies have to be functional across the value chain (it is food thus health and nutrition needs attention).
Agribusiness will only succeed and be sustainable when other features are being enhance and implemented. All these can only be achieved when there is close collaboration between both the private and public sectors; the public by providing enabling environment, while the private drives the market. 

Farmers advised to cultivate Shehzoor wheat seed of PSC

Provincial Minister for Agriculture, Dr Farrukh Javed has said that Punjab Chief Minister Muhammad Shahbaz Sharif while giving proof of being farmer-friendly has announced reduction of Rs 100 per bag in the wheat seeds for the farmers of the province. He said that farmers should not forget this concession while purchasing the seeds of wheat and only cultivate Shehzoor seed of Punjab Seed Corporation. He said that farmers will be able to purchase wheat seed bag on 2300 rupees from now onwards.

He announced this concession at a press conference at his office here Sunday. The Minister said that present government is farmer friendly and cares for their rights. He said that Punjab Chief Minister has ordered to immediately announce this good news for wheat farmers. More good news will be announced for the cultivators, he added. The Minister said that he is visiting Punjab to have direct contact with the farmers and pay tributes to their hard work. On this occasion, Dr Farrukh Javed directed Deputy Managing Director Punjab Seed Corporation Nasir Saleem and Director Marketing Chaudhry Manzoor to monitor all sale points and dealers of Punjab Seed Corporation to confirm that farmers are being given concession of Rs 100 per bag.
Copyright Business Recorder, 2014

Rising chilly weather Demand for dry fruits increases despite high rates

With rising chill weather, the sale of dried fruits items has been increased despite a sharp rise in rates of these items, particularly almonds, and peanut in wholesale and retail markets. Traders says due to low rain in Punjab, the crop of almonds and peanuts have brought adverse impact, which caused decline in production of these most demanding items in the winter season.

However, they said the business has been boosted up, as demand of almost all dried fruits items high from buyers' side, despite registering increase in rates from 50 to 60 percent in this season as compared to last year.

Dry fruits include dates, apricot, peaches, almond, currants, pine nut, peanuts, pistachios and many more. Almond and peanut are the most favourite and their demand is higher than others. Most of these fruits are grown in mountainous and hilly areas of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK), Balochistan and FATA. A currant mostly producing in Tirah valley of tribal Khyber Agency, which was not supplied as per demand market, due to displacement of growers in wake of the ongoing military operation in the area, says Hazrat Gul, a retailer in local market told the Business Recorder.

According to survey, the peanut is only being available at a reasonable rate of Rs160 per Kilogram. It was also revealed that the prices of pin-nut have also declined from Rs2200 per Kg to Rs1600 per/Kg, while peanuts rates gone up with 30 per cent increase, which is being sold at Rs180 per Kg.

It was noticed a sharp increase in price of almonds, arriving from neighbouring Afghanistan, being is sold at Rs 650 per kg against Rs 450 per kg in last season. Similarly, rate of high quality Australian almonds also registered an increase of Rs 80 per kilogram, which is available at Rs 680 per kg, against the Rs 600 in the preceding winter season.

The prices of Chilgoza have been declined from Rs1600 per/Kg to Rs 1400 per kg, while peanuts rates gone up with 30 per cent increase, which is being sold at Rs160 per Kg against Rs 140 during last period, according to market survey.

Arriving from India and Vietnam, kajoo (cashew nuts) is being sold at Rs 1000 per kilogram at retail market, while angeer is being sold at Rs 600 per kilogram. Good quality shell US almonds are being sold at Rs1000-Rs1200 per kg and almonds without shell between Rs1400 and Rs1600 per kg. The price of walnut has risen to Rs300 per kg against last year's Rs250 per kg whereas walnut meat is selling for Rs600-Rs800 per kg.

According to market survey, the black gram has available at Rs160 per Kg against Rs120 per kg, while prices of apricot have been risen from Rs 480 to Rs600 per kg and other almonds available at Rs400 from Rs300 respectively, it survey noticed.

Pistachio (salted) arriving from Iran is available at Rs1050 per kg at wholesale markets while it was selling at Rs900 per kg last year. Raisin (Kismish Qandhari) wholesale price had increased to Rs550-600 from Rs 450-500 per kg. Retailers are demanding Rs1200 for Walnut (without shell). The wholesale rate of walnut (without shell) is Rs1000 as compared to Rs800 per kg last year.

Buyers complained the high prices of dry-fruits were completely out from the purchasing power of salaried class. "I just found low price of peanuts among other dry-fruits items, which also registered an increase of Rs50 to 60 per Kg against last year", Ashfaq Ahmad, a private-employees of a firm.

Ahmad said the purchasing power was not allowed to low-income segment of the society to buy dry-fruits at high prices. He said that devaluation of local currency inflation and high raise in unemployment were restricted people to only purchase peanuts due to soaring prices of other dry-fruit items.

The buyers demanded of the city district administration for fixing of dry-fruits rates due to available at multiple prices in open market. With the advent of winter season, they said the vendors were charged buyers with huge prices in absence of pricing mechanism.

Despite the high rates, the business of dry-fruits has been accelerated, said Ali Marjan a trader of dry-fruit at roadside at main Hashtnagri, Peshawar. "Now buying dry fruits is not possible for the common man, except peanuts because of their reasonable price," he added.

Another buyer, Zeeshan Mushtaq told this scribe that dry fruits were mostly used in winter season to get relief from cold and argued that the rates were normal and there was no price hike. He said dry fruit vendors sold dry fruits at high prices because they themselves purchased them at high rates from other cities.
Copyright Business Recorder, 2014

Livestock and dairy sector: farmers urged to build strong market linkage

Experts at a awareness seminar on "Exploring Business Opportunities in the Livestock and Dairy Sector in KP" urged the farmers to establish market linkage to give boost to their business and improve financial conditions, and asked them to take full benefit from by government-run 'Meat and milk production improvement program' to yield livestock and dairy products as per growing demands.

The seminar titled; held under auspicious of Directorate General (Extension) Livestock and Dairy Development Department KP, under improving production of Meat and Dairy products project in collaboration with Agriculture University Peshawar. Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Minister for Finance, Muzaffar Said participated at seminar as chief guest. Notable speakers include the project Director Dr Muhammad Islam, Director General Dr Sher Muhammad, Dean Faculty of Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Sciences AUP Professor Dr Subhan Qureshi, Naveed Sadiq, Salahuddin, and Hafeezullah, Dr Asad Sultan and others. Besides, experts of livestock and dairy, farmers, and students of faculty of Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Sciences also attended the seminar.

"Farmers are mostly following subsistence farming in livestock sector, but it don't have direct access to market to promote their livestock and dairy products and guidance from experts for improvement of these products, due to lack of strong linkages and co-ordination, Dr Islam said while delivering a lecture at the seminar. He stressed the need for promotion of trade and commercial livestock farming, to have better access to farmers to promote their products in better, besides strong co-ordination with experts to improve production of livestock and dairy products.

The project Director further said the event was aimed to provide opportunity to farmers, experts, and livestock departments, to make collective efforts for improvement of milk and dairy products, by taking full benefiting from guidance of experts in this important sector. He informed the KP has hardly fulfilling its milk requirements, due to low production, and stressed the need for establishment of commercial farms in the livestock sector to improve the production of milk and meat in province.

Dr Islam informed, "We need to have 60 gram animal protein per day, which is currently around 16 gram, as its essential for better animal breeding and improvement in production of milk and meat as well," Through the project, he said they are focusing those farmers those were intending to establish linkage with market, academia and work under guidance of experts. He informed two forms of incentives have been offered to livestock farmers under the Meat and Milk improvement project in KP, including technical and financial support in this regard. Due to effective implementation of the project, he informed the animal production has been increasing with ratio of 4 percent every year, which is still very low, and need to be improved it.

Dr Subhan Qureshi in his detailed presentation, informed the participants about achievements and progress for establishment of modern slaughter houses in KP, along with efforts to establishment entrepreneurship in livestock and dairy sector in the province. He said the purpose is to create self-employment for graduates and extending assistance to farmers in the sector. He said the KP has the potential to export meat to Halal food market across the world, for which need to take vigorous efforts, and said some initiatives have been undertaken in this regard.

Dr Qureshi informed that about 14.84 million sheep and goats worth of Rs160 billion were available in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa in addition to 27 per cent share in the national poultry sector. "A total investment of Rs 200 billion in the poultry sector, while 834 billion kg meat was produced", he added.

The faculty dean said the sector has greatly supported the agro-based economy of the province and presented scope for enhancement through income generation, self employment and production of certified high quality food items. However, he said that there was a need to take more steps to achieve goals through technical and marketing interventions to boost up the per unit productivity and introduce quality control system.

Others speakers, including Naveed Sadiq, Salahuddin and Dr Asad Sultan also informed the participating livestock farmers about various tools and ways, to improve production of livestock and dairy products, besides establishment strong market linkages to also generate revenue and create self-employment opportunities as well. They stressed that the co-ordinated and vigorous efforts should be made for development of livestock and dairy sector in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, particularly building an effective entrepreneurship and creating more business opportunities for farmers and others in the sector.
Copyright Business Recorder, 2014

Production Technology of Lucern

Technical name          Medicago sativa.
Varieties                     Type-8, Type-9, Synthetic-79.          
Seed Rate                    3-4 kg/acre              
Sowing Time              Mid October-Mid November.
 Harvesting Time         8 cuttings-1st after 80-90 days.

Production Technology of Sunhemp

Technical name          Crotalavia juncea.     
Seed Rate                    20 kg/acre              
Sowing Time              July.

Harvesting Time         Sept.

Production Technology of Jantar / Dhaincha

Technical name          Sesbania aculeata.    
Seed Rate                    20 kg/acre              
Sowing Time              March-July.

Harvesting Time         June- July.

Production Technology of Arhar

Technical name          Cajanus cajan.           
Seed Rate                    10 kg/acre              
Sowing Time              May-June

Harvesting Time         Sept-October.

Production Technology of Mott grass

Technical name          Pennisetum perpureum.         
Seed Rate                    10,000-12,000 cutting/ acre              
Sowing Time                        Spring:            Feb-March
      Autumn:          July-August

Production Technology of Sudan grass

Technical name          Sorghum bicolor.       
Seed Rate                    8-10 kg/acre              
 Sowing Time              March.

Saturday, 29 November 2014

Asia rubber: weak prices hinder sales, Hainan buys Thai stockpiles

Asian rubber producers were reluctant to sell this week because of depressed prices and interest centred on the sale of rubber stockpiles by top producer and exporter Thailand. The stockpiles have been hanging over the market at a time when global prices are already low because of weak demand.

China's Hainan Rubber Industry Group said this week it had signed an agreement to buy 208,000 tonnes of rubber from Thailand's Rubber Estate Organisation, which oversees the stockpiles. The firm said the purchases would be made at a "fair market price" but traders suspect the rubber was probably sold at a discount. "Market players are still evaluating the impact of the deal, particularly to see what prices the rubber was sold at," said a Bangkok-based trader, adding that a discounted deal could hurt prices. A source from Thailand's agriculture ministry said the sale included some top-grade 100 percent rubber priced at around $1,900 per tonne, with lower-quality grades sold for less. The top-grade price is equivalent to $1.90 per kg.

Benchmark Japanese futures, based on RSS3 grade, are trading at around 200 yen ($1.69) per kg. The benchmark has fallen nearly 30 percent this year and is trading not far above five-year lows hit last month amid a supply glut. Last week Thailand, Indonesia and Malaysia, which produce nearly 70 percent of the world's natural rubber, agreed to control exports to international markets to curb excess supply.

Elsewhere in physical markets, top tyre maker Bridgestone Corp bought Indonesian grade SIR20 at 69.75 cents per pound ($1.54 per kg) for February shipment in dealer-to-dealer trades. Trading activity continued to be hurt by producers' reluctance to sell at lower prices. "Indonesian prices are 3-4 cents higher than (Singapore's) SICOM prices and still producers cannot make a profit," said a Jakarta-based trader, adding that producers were asking for $1.58-$1.59 per kg.

Due to weak prices, many farmers have abandoned tapping to look for other jobs, leading to a shortage of raw material and delays in deliveries. Thai-grade STR20 was offered at $1.54-$1.55 per kg, compared with $1.52-$1.57 last week, traders said. RSS3, another Thai grade, was offered at about $1.61 versus $1.62-$1.65 last week. "We saw the market mostly trading sideways in the past two weeks with good consumer buying at $1.50 and below, while producers are selling around the $1.55-$1.60 area," said a Singapore-based trader.
Copyright Reuters, 2014

Iran, Azerbaijan intend to sign MoU in sphere of agriculture

Iran and Azerbaijan are preparing to sign a memorandum of understanding in the sphere of agriculture, including in the livestock sector, Iranian Minister of Industry, Mines and Trade Mohammad Reza Nematzadeh told Trend on Nov.28.
Nematzadeh was on a visit to Azerbaijan on Nov.26-27.
He met with Azerbaijani Minister of Agriculture Heydar Asadov on Nov.27 and discussed the opportunities for cooperation and the prospects in the food and agriculture sphere, Azerbaijani Ministry of Agriculture told Trend.
Iranian minister told Trend that the sides have agreed to sign a memorandum in this sphere, adding that the document is ready and will be signed by the agriculture ministers of the two countries soon.
Nematzadeh said that the export of fruits, vegetables and food products to Russia and cooperation between Azerbaijani and Iranian companies in this sphere were among the issues discussed during his visit to Azerbaijan.
Earlier, Russian and Iranian representatives discussed the possibility of exporting fruits and vegetables from Iran to this country.

Russia presented to Iran a list of 60 types of fruits, vegetables and food products needed for Russia, according to Iran's ISNA news agency.
Agricultural products account for 41 of 100 most profitable products exported to Russia, (March 20-Oct.20) according to the official statistics of Iranian Chamber of Commerce.
Iran exported $151 million worth of products to Russia from March 21 to Oct.23 and $80 million of this amount fell to the share of agricultural products. In other words, agricultural products account for more than half the value of exports from Iran to Russia.
Russia banned the import of agricultural products from Europe in August in response to the sanctions imposed on it over the Ukrainian crisis. Russia imported 11.8 billion Euro worth of agricultural and food products from Europe in 2013, according to the official data of the European Union.
Iranian minister also said that the expansion of bilateral trade and economic relations were discussed during his visit.
An Iranian delegation led by Nematzadeh also met with Azerbaijan's Emergency Situations Minister Kamaladdin Heydarov on Nov.27.
A delegation of Azerbaijani Ministry of Emergency Situations led by Heydarov visited Iran in March 2014 and discussed the expansion of cooperation in the sphere of industrial security and industrial work.
Nematzadeh added that the expansion of economic relations between the two countries, joint investments and growth of bilateral trade turnover were among the issues discussed during the meeting with Azerbaijani representatives.
The trade turnover between Azerbaijan and Iran stood at $220 million in 2013. Negotiations on increasing the volume of bilateral trade turnover were also held during the visit of Iranian President Hassan Rouhani to Azerbaijan on Nov.12.
The minister added that during the visit it was agreed to create a joint pharmaceutical company by Azerbaijani and Iranian companies.
Visiting the Sumgait Chemical Industrial Park, Nematzadeh said that Iran is interested in cooperating with Azerbaijan in the petrochemical sphere, including engineering work, repair of equipment and joint investments.

U.S Department of agriculture to spend $55 Million on Cranberry products

The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced it is prepared to purchase up to $55 million in cranberry products, double the amount it purchased earlier this year. This increase in purchase is expected to add up to 68 million pounds of excess cranberries into the diets of low-income children and families.
 According to Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-Madison), co-chair of the caucus, on Monday said that Wisconsin produces more cranberries than any other state and the USDA’s cranberry purchase will help growers of cranberry, particularly when markets are hard.
A record crop of cranberries in 2013, about two-third of which were grown in Wisconsin, has been decreasing prices to unsustainable levels for some growers. A proposal to slash cranberry production levels in August to decrease the surplus has been rejected by the USDA.
Executive Director of the Cranberry Marketing Committee Scott Soares said the agency’s decision to buy cranberries is possibly not associated to the rejected proposal. It was noted by Scott Soares that since 2008, the USDA has purchased cranberries each year.
But Tom Lochner, Executive Director of the Wisconsin State Cranberry Growers’ Association, USDA’s rejection of production said cuts did encourage following discussions about rising USDA buying levels. “We look at it as a win-win. Obviously, we hope (the purchase) translates into prices that become economically sustainable. Added benefit, he said, is that more Americans will have access to a healthy, nutritious product they can incorporate into their diet”, said Lochner.
In mid-November, Baldwin connected with caucus members from both parties wrote a letter to USDA SecretaryTom Vilsack requesting the agency to boost its cranberry purchases to aid growers dealing with record crop levels and reducing prices.
The letter stated that buying cranberry products will directly help these families and regional economies in weathering impact of factors on cranberry commodity prices. It was signed by 22 members of Congress, involving fellow Wisconsin Reps. Reid Ribble (R-Sherwood), Ron Kind (D-La Crosse), Sean Duffy (R-Wausau) and Tom Petri (R-Fond du Lac).
Farmers on the other hand have expressed delight and appreciation anticipating the move will also better their incomes.

Focusing on water plans

Does Nebraska need a comprehensive water plan?
There have been efforts over the years to write a plan and many studies done in support of that process. However, no state plan has been used to the extent that is common in other states.
Water planning was the focus this week at the annual Nebraska Water Resources Association-Nebraska State Irrigation Association joint conference in Kearney.
In a review of water management history reflected in studies, reports, projects and legislation, NSIA Executive Director Lee Orton and Robert Kuzelka, professor emeritus at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln School of Natural Resources, said Nebraska’s “plan” primarily is reflected in legislation.
Orton said “intent language” at the front of bills leading to new laws describes important water issues over the years.
Kuzelka noted that there have been state water plan recommendations, but not a good definition despite more studies. “What is a state water plan?” he said. “...The final plan is what goes into the laws.”
Kuzelka and Orton said a 1936 Water Resources of Nebraska report was done by a state planning board.
Its valuable information includes a map showing the early network of groundwater observation wells, and statements about protecting groundwater and limiting its use to beneficial purposes.
Also listed was the need for upstream storage in the North Platte Basin for irrigation, power, domestic and recreational at a potential site that is about where Lake McConaughy sits. Orton said the proposed $10 million for a storage reservoir is the equivalent of $171 million in 2014 dollars.
“Those people had visionary ideas,” Kuzelka said, especially compared to the “relatively piddling” amounts for water projects considered by the Legislature more recently.
Also in the 1936 report were outlines of Republican Basin needs and Loup Basin projects that would become the Middle and North Loup Public Power and Irrigation districts.
Kuzelka said its writers said early on that their report was not a final plan, but a beginning.
Moving forward
A common thread in much of Nebraska’s water management history has need to be flexible in responding to change.
Kuzelka described the decision for Nebraska to join Kansas and Colorado in the 1943 Republican River Compact that allocates surface water in that basin as “rather innocuous at the time.” No one knew then how groundwater irrigation would affect streamflows or that disputes between the states would go all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court.
Some good things short of a state water plan came from planning studies. One was a 1972 law that consolidated about 160 160 local conservation and resources districts into 24 natural resources districts, now 23.
“Believe it or not, an argument against the NRDs was a loss of local control,” Orton said.
In 1984, NRDs were required by the Legislature to write groundwater management plans. Groundwater quality protections were added in 1991.
A 2004 law required integrated water management plans addressing groundwater and surface water as one resource to be written by the Nebraska Department of Natural Resources and NRDs for the Republican Basin and parts of the Platte Basin that are fully appropriated or overappropriated.
“Everything that has been done was intended to be a never-ending process,” Orton said.
Process, not plan
Meanwhile, plan proposals, water studies, reviews of other states’ water plans and a lack of adequate state funding for water management projects continued to be repeated, Orton said.
“There are things in the ‘36 study that could be brushed off, retyped and considered by the Legislature pretty quickly,” Kuzelka said. “... I think maybe we’ve studied some things enough.”
Since 1981, the Legislature has required an annual state water planning and review process report to replace a state water plan. That change had been recommended in 1978 by the Natural Resources Commission and other state agencies.
DNR Deputy Director Jim Schneider said Nebraska’s core water management goals — economic viability, aquifer sustainability and streamflows — are reviewed in every report. “They’re all interrelated. You can’t really tweak one without affecting the others,” he said.
Schneider said choosing the water planning and review process was “one of the conscious decisions we made along the way to say a state water plan doesn’t work for Nebraska.”
Policy versus structures
Orton was asked Monday how Nebraska rates against other states on water management.
“In some cases we are the best there is. In some cases we may be the worst there is,” he replied. “... There’s still nothing like our NRDs anywhere else. There are only pieces of that (idea).”
Mike Jess, the 1981-1999 director of the Department of Water Resources, DNR’s predecessor, said, “As time went on, it seems we’ve gotten more policy and less on the structural aspects.”
“Frequently, I think people think of planning as a way to put things off. I don’t know how we get away from that,” Orton replied.
Kuzelka said city planning includes a capital improvements plan. “I don’t think we’ve ever had a water capital improvement plan for Nebraska,” he said.
“Yes, but we’ve studied it,” Orton joked.
Schneider said Nebraska’s water management goals should include more alternative projects, such as irrigation canals and other projects to hold unallocated higher flows for groundwater recharge or retimed releases back to the rivers; more conservation innovations at the ag producer-water manager level; and flexible water markets to make the best uses of water when and where it’s needed.
Kuzelka said there needs to be a “shopping list” with prioritized projects that legislators can consider when they’re asked to appropriate funds for water management.
Orton said creating such a list will require a significant willingness to work together, which will be difficult because there always are more worthy projects than available funds.
Jess sees the importance of working together reflected in the progress he’s seen the past 15 years on the three-state Platte River Recovery Implementation Program and Republican River Compact compliance.
“What’s bothersome to me is the internal debate between irrigation districts and NRDs (especially in the Republican Basin). That’s not good for Nebraska,” he said.


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