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Food Security Investments

ADQ’s strategy to support the UAE’s agri-food ecosystem

Abu Dhabi’s, ADQ has agreed to acquire a 50 per cent stake to buy 50% stake in agri-food specialist Al Dahra Holding. Al Dahra is a prominent multinational leader in agribusiness, specializing in the cultivation, production and trading of animal feed and essential food commodities and end-to-end supply chain management. Serving a large customer base spanning the Government and Commercial sectors, Al Dahra has a widespread geographic footprint, with a workforce of 5,000 employees, operating in over 20 countries and catering to more than 45 markets, with a leading position in Asia and the Middle East.

“Food and agri-business is of importance to ADQ’s strategy because it is high growth and important for Abu Dhabi’s socio-economic agenda. Since 1995 when Al Dahra was founded in the UAE, it has grown into a global food and animal feed company and is a pillar of Abu Dhabi and our country’s food security mandate. Al Dahra will complement our existing efforts to extend ADQ’s reach in food production and distribution. With our investment, Al Dahra will be well positioned to further expand its reach and footprint while enabling Abu Dhabi to reach its goals of continuing to diversify its food sources and growing into a regional food hub.”

H.E. Mohammed Hassan Alsuwaidi, Chief Executive Officer of ADQ

Al Dahra owns and operates 15 state-of-the-art forage processing and baling facilities globally. The company also cultivates different types of fresh produce, including a wide range of fruits and vegetables, as well as grains with infrastructure to facilitate grains’ trading. Al Dahra operates three rice mills with capacity to supply 500,000 tons annually in India, Pakistan and the UAE.

The company also owns shares in three flour mills in Greece and Bulgaria that have the capacity to supply 500,000 tons annually. Additionally, the company has an olive oil production plant in Morocco with an annual production capacity of 10,000 tons, and dairy farms in Serbia and the UAE with 20,000 cows and a production capacity of 80 million liters of milk annually.

Read more at Al Dahra

Categories
Agriculture Strategy

Farmers to produce what the market wants

For the first time, the state government is going to regulate the production of crops in India. Farmers in Telangana are going to produce what the market wants. It’s a big move in the right direction and will set ground for a new beginning of Demand Driven Agriculture. This Kharif season, the farmers will be asked to grow paddy on 50 lakh acres (including the Telangana Sona variety on 10 lakh acres of land), cotton on 50 lakh acres and red gram on 10 lakh acres. Farm lands nearer to urban areas will grow vegetables and horticultural crops to tap the demand.

“One should cultivate crops which sell well. They don’t buy whatever you produce”.

Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao

Asking the farmers to strictly adhere to the cropping pattern, Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao has said that government sops such as ‘Rythu Bandhu’ (₹5,000 each for farmers in both the seasons for every acre they own) will be stopped to the farmers who don’t conform to the cropping plan.

Farmers base next years supply purely on the previous price and assume that next year’s price will be the same as last year (adaptive expectations). These fluctuations in price may cause some farmers to go out of business.

Limitations of Cobweb theory

As the government is attempting to go beyond advisory and extension roles, it will revamp the Department of Agriculture to take up additional responsibilities. The government will also bring in necessary amendments to the Seed Act.

Read more at The Hindu Business Line

Categories
Bankruptcy Commodities

Phoenix Commodities has gone into liquidation after amassing $400m in potential trading losses

Phoenix Commodities, a trader of agricultural products with offices in Dubai and Singapore, is being liquidated after amassing more than US$400 million (S$567 million) in potential trading losses. It was valued at $1.1bn-$1.24bn as recently as January, according to a document filed by its provisional liquidators.. The Phoenix Group, which was registered in the British Virgin Islands, operated globally with about 100 corporate entities located in Europe, Africa, Asia, Australia and North America and employed over 2,500 people.

First Abu Dhabi bank reports $73.3m exposure to Phoenix Commodities. Emirates NBD, Mashreq, HSBC Holdings and Standard Chartered were also owed millions by the company.

ArabianBusiness.com

Phoenix Commodities began as a rice trading business in 2001. Its executive chairman, Gaurav Dhawan, became the majority shareholder in 2006 and expanded its activities. It had three main divisions – agrifoods, resources (coal and metals trading) and consumer brands. Phoenix traded 12m tonnes of commodities and goods last year and claims to be one of the largest rice distribution companies in the world.

Categories
AgTech Blockchain

Blockchain for Food and Agriculture

Blockchain is an emerging technology allowing universal transactions among distributed parties, without the need of intermediaries. Blockchain is not a single technology but uses a combination of technologies that have a considerable history in computer science and in commercial applications like public/private key cryptography, cryptographic hash functions, database technologies especially distributed databases, consensus algorithms, and decentralised processing. Blockchain could pave way for a transparent supply chain of food, by facilitating the sharing of data between disparate actors in a food value chain.

Despite huge positives of the technology and the great interest it has received from public and private parties in general, some critical questions like accessibility, governance, technical aspects, policies, data ownership and regulatory frameworks need to be addressesed for its mass adoption.

Some common ways in which blockchain is applied in food and agriculture value chains are

Supply Chain Traceability: It enables companies to quickly track unsafe products back to their source and see where else they have been distributed. This can prevent illness and save lives, as well as reducing the cost of product recalls.

Example: Aglive – An Australian livestock tracking platform, has completed a pilot that monitored shipments of beef to China using blockchain. The pilot saw cattle tracked from Macka’s cattle farm in regional New South Wales to an abattoir located in the same state. From there, frozen beef products were tracked across the supply chain as the meat was transported by land freight interstate to Queensland, and then shipped to Shanghai — ensuring that the products were stored under safe conditions throughout transit. The products were then distributed to grocery stores in Shanghai.

Agricultural Commodities Trade: Commodities management involves deal documents, contracts, letters of credit, supply chain finance, traceability and government certifications. Blockchain is enabling these data management challenges and payment time lags.

Example: AgriDigital – A blockchain-based and integrated commodity management solution for the global grains industry.

Digital Marketplace: Digital marketplaces allow buyers and growers to connect directly, increasing the amount of profits that go to the farmers, and investors to invest directly into farms producing commodities and then trade on that investment.

Example: Twiga Foods Ltd – The company, buys fresh produce from 17,000 farmers and processed food from manufacturers and then delivers it to 8,000 vendors, most of whom are women.

Categories
Intellectual Property Rights

GI tag for Manipur black rice, ‘Chakhao’

Chakhao, a scented glutinous rice which has been in cultivation in Manipur over centuries, is characterised by its special aroma. Chakhao has also been used by traditional medical practitioners as part of traditional medicine. GI has great potential to play a major role in trade and there is a possibility of preserving many traditional skills.

As defined by WIPO, a geographical indication (GI) is a sign used on products that have a specific geographical origin and possess qualities or a reputation that are due to that origin. A study published by the European Commission concluded that the sales value of a product with a protected name is on average double that for similar products without a certification.

The application for Chakhao was filed by the Consortium of Producers of Chakhao (Black Rice), Manipur and was facilitated by the Department of Agriculture, Government of Manipur and the North Eastern Regional Agricultural Marketing Corporation Limited.

Read more at NorthEast Now

Categories
Agriculture

Despite lockdown, producers didn’t change planting plans in USA

As compared to 2019, planted acreage in 2020 is as follows:

  • Corn Planted Acreage at 97.0 million acres Up 8 Percent
  • Soybean Acreage at 83.5 million acres Up 10 Percent
  • All Wheat Acreage at 44.7 million acres Down 1 Percent
  • All Cotton Acreage at 13.7 million acres Down Less Than 1 Percent

As compared to 2019, grain stocks on March 1, 2020 is as follows:

  • Corn Stocks totaled 7.95 billion bushels Down 8 Percent
  • Soybean Stocks totaled 2.25 billion bushels Down 17 Percent
  • All Wheat Stocks totaled 1.41 billion bushels Down 11 Percent

Read more at USDA Prospective Plantings and Grain Stocks

Categories
Food Loss/Waste

Washington growers have a billion pounds of potatoes that they can’t sell

Washington growers have a billion pounds of potatoes sitting around that they can’t get rid of because restaurants don’t need them. Ninety percent of Washington potatoes go to processors. Due to this lockdown, processors and restaurants are closed. This lead growers to the brink of financial collapse. When all of that shuts down, it has a huge ramification for all the processors and the growers.

There are 4 billion pounds of potatoes already harvested. About 70% of that will be shipped overseas, but that leaves a billion pounds in storage. Those farmers that can sell their product have seen the wholesale price fall below the costs to produce them.

Read more at MyNorthWest.com

Categories
Investments

African Development Bank’s seed-bulking scheme boosts cassava yields in Zambia

For centuries, African farmers across the continent have grown cassava. But Zambia’s cassava growers were not deriving as much out of the crop as was possible. Farmers in the southern African country used low-quality planting materials and suffered from poor harvests leading to hunger and poverty across many of the country’s villages. To tackle this problem, the African Development Bank, through its Technologies for African Agriculture Transformation in the Savannahs (TAAT-S) flagship initiative, implemented by the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), provided Zambian farmers with a solution known as “seed bulking”.

This involves collecting seeds from a target crop and then growing them in a controlled setting. Using this method, farmers can multiply their bank of seeds, making them more secure and able to scale-up productivity. Five types of high-yielding cassava seeds were successfully introduced in an effort to boost yields and make the landlocked nation less reliant on food imports. Experts believe that modified seeds could help millions of smallholder farmers to get bigger harvests and earn extra cash.

Read more at AFDB

Categories
Food Security

Being rich is no longer a guarantee that you will be able to get the food supply you want

From the French Revolution to the Arab Spring, price rises and food shortages have fueled conflict, toppled leaders and overthrown regimes. In this COVID-19 pandemic, countries may face an excruciating trade-off between saving lives or livelihoods or, in a worst-case scenario, saving people from the corona virus to have them die from hunger. Small Island Developing States (SIDS) and oil-exporting countries may be severely affected as they are net importers of food with populations that are dependent on income from remittances and tourism.

Yuan Longping, the Chinese agricultural expert, said China is completely able to achieve self-reliance in terms of grain production but said the COVID19 pandemic serves as a warning for those who are lax on food security. The coronavirus has done more than disrupt supply chains, it’s restarted a discussion about self-sufficiency tinged with nationalism. A lot of countries have introduced restrictions on overseas sales of grains or rice since mid-March, which serves as a wake-up call to governments.

Categories
Uncategorized

How Satellites Can Improve Decision-Making For Agricultural Investments

USDA information about crop supply and demand estimates is fundamental to both policy-makers and agricultural investors. Nevertheless, the current situation with markets and crops is changing faster than USDA report releases, especially with the uncertainty around coronavirus pandemics. The uncertainty caused by the outbreak of the COVID-19 reinforces the need for reliable, precise, politically neutral, and promptly available data for investors.

Here’s where digital tools can come in handy.

Geospatial intelligence, supply-and-demand estimates, crop tours, experimental plots, direct contact with grain producers are among the most effective ways to gather much-needed data. Agricultural investing is entering in the ‘remote prediction’ era where the one with superior AI tools has the edge. This is where satellite technologies can close informational gaps – and do it faster than once a month.

Read more at Investing.com