Farmers' Party Wins Election, Bird Flu in India, Saudi's Target Yemeni Farmers, Bono Agency Grants Aid to Niger Agri, Kiwi Dairy man Fined for River Works and More...
Lithuania: Farmers' Party Elected in Surprise Result
The Lithuanian Peasants and Green Union (LPGU) has won nearly 40% of the seats in Lithuania's general election, a result that has shocked and surprised commentators and analysts alike. The LPGU will now seek to form a coalition government either with the opposition Homeland Union or the leftist Social Democrats. Before this election the LPGU held just 1 seat in parliament but a shrinking population has changed the electoral landscape. Over 400,000 people have emigrated from Lithuania since 2004, mostly to other EU states. "We will forge a rational coalition government and we'll choose people who want to bring about changes," said Saulius Skvernelis, a prime ministerial candidate and former police chief.
India: Organic Scheme Launched in Goa
Goa's state government has launched a scheme to promote organic farming in an effort to reduce chemical and pesticide use and to assist farmers in developing a sustainable model for the future. "This is the first step we have taken in the direction of organic farming in the state. Hopefully, more and more farmers should adopt the practice of organic farming after availing this scheme." said Ulhas Pai Kakode, agriculture director. The scheme will offer up to 50% assistance towards input costs up to a limit of 10,000 rupees. Organic fertilizers including vermi-compost, mushroom waste, neem cake and bio-fertilizers such as rhizobium, azotobacter and azosprillium will be made available.
Yemen: Saudi Arabia ‘deliberately targeting impoverished Yemen’s farms and agricultural industry’
The war in Yemen is receiving little attention, but with around 10,000 casualties already, many of them civilians, it is getting harder to ignore. The use of British-made cluster bombs has recently been making headlines and now the Independent reports that Saudi Arabia is deliberately targeting agricultural assets including cows, farms and sorghum, an important food source for both animal fodder and bread-making. Robert Fisk writes: “In fact, there is substantial evidence emerging that the Saudis and their “coalition” allies – and, I suppose, those horrid British “advisers” – are deliberately targeting Yemen’s tiny agricultural sector in a campaign which, if successful, would lead a post-war Yemeni nation not just into starvation but total reliance on food imports for survival.”
Niger: MCC Grant is a Commitment to Strengthening Niger's Agricultural Sector
The Millenium Challenge Corp, a the global development project assisted by U2 singer Bono, has agreed a US$437 million grant for Niger. “The five-year compact will focus on Niger’s agricultural sector — which employs more than 80 percent of the population — to increase food security in a country prone to famine.” With 4.5 million displaced people in the Sahel region of Africa alone, Dana Hyde argues for a comprehensive commitment to agricultural infrastructure in Niger, both to stabilise the current situation and to provide hope for the future. “By improving water availability, roads, and market access, while also promoting climate-resilient agricultural techniques and sustainable livestock farming, this investment is designed to increase the country’s food supply and rural incomes.”
China: Oversupply of Wheat is a Burden
China has set its 2017 wheat price at 2,360 yuan (US$349.18) per tonne, unchanged from the last two years, despite a global price-drop of 20%. The Chinese government will buy wheat for $9.50 per bushel, almost twice the $4 being paid for wheat in Toledo, Ohio this week ($147/tonne). China has been paying support prices for wheat since 2006, partly to protect its farmers from global fluctuations, but mainly to guarantee supply after wheat stocks hit their lowest point in 23 years. The huge stockpile being amassed in China has inflated world wheat supply so while China's farmers will not complain, wheat growers internationally are suffering as a result.
India: Avian Flu Threatening Poultry Industry
Avian flu has been detected in various parts of India, placing the Fisheries and Animal Resources Development Department of Odisha on alert. Wildlife groups are monitoring migrating birds for suspicious mortalities and for sample-taking, especially around Chilika lagoon, one of India's largest sites for migratory water fowl.
Australia: Gina Rinehart looks to have secured Australia's largest land sale
The all-Australian BBHO consortium, formed with great hopes of out-bidding mining tycoon Gina Rinehart and her Chinese partners in the race to bag Australia's largest ranching company, has pulled out of the bidding after they were gazumped by the mining magnate in a multi-million dollar bidding war. BBHO thought they had secured control over Kidman and Co Land Holdings with a A$386 million bid, but Rinehart countered by adding another half million to her offer. At this point BBHO pulled out, leaving it likely that the 100,000 square kilometre Kidman holdings will, after all, be part-Chinese-owned by Rinehart's Hancock Group. BBHO released a statement admitting defeat: “We are disciplined investors in Australian rural assets and made what we believed to be a full and fair offer. Each of the BBHO partners wishes the Hancock consortium well and, should they be successful in completing the acquisition, we look forward to welcoming them as neighbours.”
Canada: British Columbia Ready to Sell Beef to Europe
British Columbia's beef farmers are anticipating being able to sell to Europe very soon as the Ceta deal looks likely to be sealed in the near future. Kevin Boon, BC Cattlemen's Association is looking forward to it. “They know we produce a quality of beef that they are looking for. We are able to produce very safe, high-quality meat with good flavour and it’s what they’re used to.” Plans are already in place for expansions into the European markets, with Japan and China the next priorities. “We are doing a business plan for a packing plant in BC that would work in conjunction with what is already in existence,” added Boon.
New Zealand: Farmer Fined NZ$36,000 for Illegal Earthworks on Oreti River
A dairy farmer in New Zealand has been fined $36,000 for illegal works on the Oreti river. Adolf Puis Hardegger straightened a bend on the river and carried out extensive earthworks in three locations to facilitate fencing. The Oreti is a world renowned trout fishing river and the works were located in an important spawning ground, Starvation Creek. Hardegger argued that no damage had been caused to the river, but the judge replied that as no permissions had been sought, no adequate environmental impact studies had been carried out. Hardeggar also said that the contractor had acted on his own initiative, to which the judge replied: “The defendant's submission says the contractor was given a general mandate ... [and had] minimal supervision. This approach to the works involves recklessness ... having let the contractor loose, the defendants must accept the consequences.”