In Brief… – for Mar. 17, 2011

Terminal deal:Richardson

International Limited said March 10 it has agreed to buy the North East Terminal grain-handling facility in Wadena, Saskatchewan.

The $25-million deal, which also includes crop input facilities at Wadena, Kelvington, Foam Lake and Ponass Lake, Saskatchewan, is expected to close on April 13.

The sale hinges on approval by North East shareholders, most of whom are local farmers, said the terminal’s general manager Garnet Ferguson. The 38,000-tonne crop-handling facility opened in 1992.

Promoting pet food:

The federal government is investing $175,000 to help Canada’s pet food industry promote its products internationally. The Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council (PIJAC) will use the funds to build relationships with new and existing customers, and increase the sales, exports and value of its products, which include a range of pet food for dogs, cats, birds and other domesticated animals. The council will also attend U.S. and other international trade shows, and participate in outgoing missions, a federal release says. – Staff Food stocks:France has asked the United Nations’ World Food Program (WFP) to look into how pre-positioned food stocks in poor countries could help regions fight sudden rises in agricultural prices.

The organization is due to present a report on the issue at a meeting of agriculture ministers of the Group of 20 economies at the end of June. Paris has made the regulation of commodities markets, mainly agricultural, one of the priorities of its year-long presidency of the G20. Big plans:Morocco’s state-run phosphate monopoly OCP said March 9 it has started work on a new fertilizer plant as it seeks to strengthen its presence and sales to Africa’s under-productive agricultural sector. The plant is part of a plan OCP announced last year to turn the world’s top phosphate reserves holder into the biggest producer of diammonium phosphate (DAP) and monoammonium phosphate (MAP) by mid-2015. The one-million-tonne-per-annum plant is the second of four OCP plants to build as it gears up for a surge in global demand from farmers.

Adios La Nińa:The worst La Nińa weather anomaly in a decade should be gone completely by June, the U.S. Climate Prediction Center says. “The majority of (weather computer) models predict a return to … neutral” conditions by the Northern Hemisphere summer, the CPC, an office under the U.S. National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration, said.

La Nińa, the little sister to the more infamous El Nińo, is an abnormal cooling of waters in the equatorial Pacific Ocean and wreaks havoc with weather patterns across the Asia-Pacific region.

Cost of credit cards:

Support small business. Pay with cash or debit. That’s the gist of a new Canadian Federation of Independent Business initiative to raise awareness over crippling cost of credit cards over and above the interest rates on users’ unpaid balances. “Most consumers are unaware that each time their credit card is swiped, the merchant pays between 1.5 to three per cent of the sale to the credit card company, while an Interac debit transaction costs less than 12 cents,” said CFIB spokesman Dan Kelly.

– Staff Buying land:Chinese edible oil firm Julong Group, said Beijing may provide subsidies this year to local companies buying up plantation land outside the country, as China seeks to secure food supplies.

Sun Wei Jun, an official with Julong Group, said the government would like Chinese firms to own more food estates overseas.

Julong Group, the largest unlisted edible oils processor in China, has already ventured into oil palm estates five years ago on the Indonesian side of Borneo Island and now has a land bank of 100,000 hectares.

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