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In Brief… – for Mar. 26, 2009

Food for work: Bangladesh will sell cheaper rice to millions of garment workers because the country’s prime export industry has been hit by the global economic downturn, a government minister said March 18. The country’s textile industry – which employs 2.5 million, mostly women, workers – requested a bailout as competition in global markets increases.

The minimum monthly wage of a textile worker is less than $25, about half the average earnings of a farm worker. About half of Bangladesh’s more than 140 million people live on less than $1 a day. – Reuters

Hands off the beer:

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez’s threat to nationalize the country’s favourite beer maker Empresas Polar is proving unpopular. Caracas-based polling group Datanalisis says a 2008 survey showed 97 per cent of respondents like Polar’s products and 96 per cent believe the firm is working to help the country. Half called it the most prestigious company in Venezuela. If Chavez carries through his threat, Venezuela’s largest food producer would be run by state bureaucrats who have a reputation for inefficiency.

Inputs on offer:

Monsanto Canada will continue offering $100,000 in donated farm inputs to support the Canadian Foodgrains Bank’s 2009 Community Growing Project program, a company release says. Volunteers for growing projects have until March 29 to submit requests for product through their local Monsanto Canada field representative to access seed, herbicides and other Monsanto products for use in their community growing project. Last year, over 100 Canadian Foodgrains Bank growing projects took advantage of the Monsanto product offer.

Communications winner:

The Manitoba chapter of the Canadian Public Relations Society has named Heather Plett Manitoba’s Communicator of the Year for her work directing a national campaign to raise money and grain donations for distribution to developing countries, and to educate and engage people in hunger-related advocacy.

Plett is the director of resources and communication with the Canadian Foodgrains Bank (CFGB). Award sponsor Marketwire – one of North America’s leading newswire and media distribution companies – presented the award March 18.

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