Word of the day

October 28, 2012

Ratiocinate – to reason, especially in a methodical manner; to think or argue logically and methodically;form judgments by a process of logic.

Rural round-up

October 28, 2012

Fonterra to sell up to $525m of units at indicative price of $4.60-$5.50, accounting for 7% of shares:

The Fonterra Shareholders’ Fund will raise as much as $525 million selling shares in an indicative price range of $4.60 to $5.50 apiece, giving outside investors exposure to up to 7 percent of the dairy cooperative’s equity, offer documents show.

The final price will be set by a bookbuild among institutions and NZX firms on about Nov. 27.

Fonterra unveiled the prospectus for the fund aimed at providing liquidity for the Trading Among Shareholders scheme, one of the biggest overhauls of the dairy giant’s capital structure since its inception in 2001. . .

Rural pulse a worry in National bank confidence survey:

The agriculture sector is the least confident in the October National Bank Business Outlook which shows overall business confidence flat-lining.

A net 17 percent of respondents expect business conditions to improve in the year ahead, unchanged from last month. A net 25 percent in the agriculture sector are pessimistic, the lowest reading in the survey.

“The agriculture sector is the nucleus of our income generating capacity. So when the rural pulse keeps getting weaker we take note,” chief economist Cameron Bagrie said in his report.

Sentiment in the agriculture sector has been sliding for months because of the high New Zealand dollar, a lower dairy payout, nervousness about environment regulation and the leveling out of a production boost from good weather, he said. . .

Turners and Growers pulls out kiwifruit vines near Kerikeri:

Turners & Growers is removing about 20 hectares of kiwifruit orchards in the Kerikeri area after the bacterial vine disease Psa-V was detected on a single male “baker graft” vine in one of its orchards in the area.

Kiwifruit Vine Health has established a controlled area, which includes 102 orchards in the region.

Kerikeri is the eleventh region to be infected since PSA was first discovered in New Zealand two years ago. . .


October 28, 2012

6/10 in Stuff’s Biz Quiz.

Verghese Kurien, milkman of India

October 28, 2012

A reader alerted me to an obituary for Verghese Kurien who revolutionised India’s milk industry.

Verghese Kurien, who has died aged 90, did for India’s dairy industry what Norman Borlaug did for its cereal production, launching a “white revolution” which ended chronic shortages and turned India into the world’s largest milk producer; he became known as “the milkman of India”.

In the 1950s small Indian dairy farmers were dependent on Polson’s, a dairy giant founded in India in 1915, which by the Second World War had established a monopoly. Farmers had to travel long distances to deliver milk to the Polson dairies and often the milk went sour en route. The prices of buffalo and cow milk were arbitrarily determined and, because farmers were unable to sell their milk to any other vendor, they were generally paid a pittance.

During the war, a group of farmers from the Kaira district of Gujarat approached the Indian nationalist leader Vallabhbhai Patel complaining of their inability to send their milk production to the markets without being fleeced by Polson’s. He advised them to form a co-operative and supply milk directly to their main market in Bombay. In 1946, following a milk strike, the Kaira District Co-operative Milk Producers’ Union was born.

An engineer by training, Kurien became involved in the milk industry in the late 1940s, when he took a temporary job with the union, then still struggling for survival against Polson. With Tribhuvandas Patel, the then chairman of the union, he set up a modern milk processing plant and created a new dairy co-operative called the Anand Milk Union (Amul).

The success of the co-operative started a movement which spread rapidly in Gujarat. Subsequently the Gujarat Co-operative Milk Marketing Federation (GCMMF), an umbrella body, was formed under Kurien’s chairmanship to ensure that the different co-operatives did not compete against one another and to coordinate marketing under the Amul brand name. . .

Another initiative was the opening of the world’s first plant producing milk powder from buffalo milk.

. . . In 1970 he launched Operation Flood, a huge development programme with the objective of creating a nationwide milk grid linking 10 million milk producers through 96,000 dairy co-operatives, with consumers in more than 700 towns and cities. Over the next 25 years the programme made India the largest producer of milk and milk products in the world. Milk production increased from 20 million tonnes a year in the 1960s to 122 million tonnes in 2011. . .

The world is a better place for entrepreneurs like this.

Ocean Park wins Cox Plate

October 28, 2012

Glen Boss rode Ocean Park  to claim his third Cox Plate in Moonee Valley, Melbourne, yesterday.

The race and the jockey were Australian, the horse was New Zealand born and trained and its owners are its trainer, Gary Hennessy,  and two Hong Kong businessmen Andrew Wong and Stephen Yang.


October 28, 2012

9/10 in the Herald’s politics quiz.

Politics of envy

October 28, 2012

Theodore Dalrymple notes a cultural change in the USA:

. . . Now American society has many faults, no doubt, as all things human do; but the one sin of which it was traditionally freest, by comparison with all other societies, was envy. More people wished good luck to the successful in America than in any other society, though of course not all; fewer people were bitten by envy, and more people impelled by emulation, than anywhere else in the world. Indeed, there was a time, and not so long ago, when to display or appeal to envy would have been regarded as un-American, a virtual repudiation of the American dream. Mr Nixon despised Mr Kennedy as a pseudo-aristocratic spoilt brat, but didn’t dare say so in public in case it sounded envious.

So Mr Obama’s appeal to envy is a symptom, and perhaps a reinforcement, of a cultural change. It goes without saying that his own financial position is one which 99.9 per cent of the enviously-inclined might envy; but an appeal to that envy, to suggest even subliminally that a man with a large fortune is in some way existentially less suited ipso facto to the highest office than a man with less money, is no more traditionally American than would be a sneer at a man’s humble beginnings.

The excitation or exploitation of envy is wrong, even where the fortunate do not deserve their good fortune.

Politics of envy is not unknown here too.

It is part of what drives the left’s obsession with inequality.

The real economic and social problem is not that some people have a lot more than others but that some don’t have enough.

If inequality was the real problem it could be solved by dragging down those with more and making people equally poor.

That would not however, do anything to help those who don’t have enough, whatever enough is.


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