Rural round-up

12/06/2013

2013 New Zealand Wine Vintage Set to Be One of the Best:

The 2013 New Zealand grape harvest has been completed with high quality grapes picked in all regions. Winemakers across the country are heralding it as one of the best vintages in history.

“An outstanding New Zealand summer provided near perfect conditions for growing grapes across the country” said Philip Gregan, chief executive officer of New Zealand Winegrowers. “The result is that we expect the 2013 wines to be vibrant, fruit driven and complex expressions of our diverse grape growing regions. 2013 looks set to be a vintage to remember.”

According to the 2013 Vintage Survey, 345,000 tonnes of grapes were harvested. The 2013 crop is up 28% on the small harvest last year but up only 5% on 2011. . .

Fieldays: new forecasting service for farmers

A new weather and environmental forecasting service has been launched at the National Fieldays by NIWA today.

The service provides farmers with tailored information about weather conditions on their farm.

The web-based weather forecasting information service called NIWA forecast aims to help farmers and growers identify the right time to carry out weather-dependent operations like irrigation, spraying and harvesting.

NIWA chief scientist, atmosphere, Dr Murray Poulter said the new service takes forecasting to another level because different forecasts can now be created for properties as little as 12km apart.

“NIWA forecast can deliver valuable climate analysis and forecasts from the present to 15 days ahead direct to farmers’ and growers’ computers via the internet direct to their farm.” . . .

Meat Industry Excellence gets into the first gear of reform:

With the 2013 National Agricultural Fieldays now underway, so is reform of New Zealand’s red meat sector being championed by Meat Industry Excellence (MIE). MIE is shifting the gears of reform following intensive meetings held in Christchurch and Wellington last week.

“Having met with Beef+Lamb NZ Chairman, Mike Petersen and Federated Farmers’ Meat and Fibre executive, there is recognition and support among farmers for a truly sustainable red meat sector,” says Richard Young, MIE Chairman.

“MIE sees its role as shifting the gear for reform out of neutral. For an industry bedevilled by past infighting it is great to know that Federated Farmers and Beef+Lamb NZ want to work with us. . .

Federated Farmers Meat & Fibre works on reform:

Federated Farmers Meat and Fibre will follow up on a positive meeting with the Meat Industry Excellence Group (MIE) with a discussion on reform and farmer behaviour at its 2013 conference in Ashburton next month.
“MIE gave us an update on where they are at and some of the changes they are working on,” Federated Farmers Meat & Fibre chairperson Jeanette Maxwell said.

“We had a highly constructive conversation around meat industry issues and many areas of alignment emerged.

“Both organisations realise they have much in common and want to achieve the same goals. In the next couple of weeks there will be a lot more information to emerge from MIE. . .

Farmers to have equal say in Fairtrade:

Farmers from Africa, Asia Pacific and Latin America are to have an equal say in running the global Fairtrade movement for the first time this week.

In a ground-breaking move, producers of tea, coffee, bananas and other goods will have half the votes at Fairtrade International’s annual General Assembly in Germany on Wednesday, 12 June 2013. . .

Fairtrade is the first major development organisation to pioneer such power-sharing between groups in the northern and southern hemisphere. . .


Fairtrade chocolate passes taste test

08/04/2010

Several years ago my daughter found what she thought was plastic in a Cadbury Easter Egg.

She wrote to the company explaining what she’d found, enclosed the remains of the egg and the wrapper and within days got a response acknowledging her letter.

A couple of weeks later she got a second letter saying it wasn’t plastic but undissolved sugar and a full explanation of how it would have happened. They also sent her a selection of chocolate.

A couple of months later a second package arrived with more chocolate and a letter thanking her for having taken the trouble to write to them.

The company is still very good at customer response.

Last year I did a post complaining about palm oil in chocolate. Mine was one of many complaints which Cadbury responded to by returning to the original recipe, they also sent me a block of palm oil-free dairy milk.

They’ve now followed that up with a block of dairy milk to coincide with the launch of their Fairtrade Certified chocolate.

There are arguments for and against Fairtrade which I’m not qualified to comment on. But as a committed chocophile I can confirm that Fairtrade dairy milk passes the taste test with flying colours.


November 15 in history

15/11/2009

On November 15:

1515  Thomas Wolsey wass invested as a Cardinal.

1532 Spanish conquistadors under Hernando de Soto meet Inca leader Atahualpa for the first time outside Cajamarca.

1533  Francisco Pizarro arrived in Cuzco, the capital of the Inca Empire.

1708 William Pitt, 1st Earl of Chatham, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, was born.

1769 Captain James Cook raised the British flag at Mercury Bay and claimed the area in the name of King George III.

1791 The first U.S Catholic college, Georgetown University, opened.

1854 the Suez Canal, linking the Mediterranean Sea with the Red Sea, was given the royal concession.

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1861 The first issue of the Otago Daily Times was published.

1889 Brazil was declared a republic by Marechal Deodoro da Fonseca and Emperor Pedro II  was deposed in a military coup.

1891  Erwin Rommel, German field marshal, “The Desert Fox”, was born.

Bundesarchiv Bild 146-1973-012-43, Erwin Rommel.jpg

 Iskander Mirza, first President of Pakistan, was born.

1903  Stewie Dempster, New Zealand cricketer, was born.

1905 Mantovani, Italian-born composer, was born.

1926  The NBC radio network opened with 24 stations.

NBC logo.svg

1928  C. W. McCall, American singer, was born.

1932 Petula Clark, English singer, was born.

1942 Daniel Barenboim, Argentine-born conductor and pianist, was born.

1942 First flight of the Heinkel He 219.

1942  The Battle of Guadalcanal ends in a decisive Allied victory.

1945  Roger Donaldson, Australian- born New Zealand film producer/director.

1945  Anni-Frid “Frida” Lyngstad, Norwegian (By Birth) singer (ABBA) was born.

1960  The Polaris missile was test launched.

1966  Gemini 12 splashed down safely in the Atlantic Ocean.

Gemini 12 insignia.png

1971 Intel released the world’s first commercial single-chip microprocessor, the 4004.

1983  Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus was founded. Recognised only by Turkey.

 1985 The Anglo-Irish Agreement was signed at Hillsborough Castle by British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and Irish Taoiseach Garret FitzGerald.

1988 The first Fairtrade label, Max Havelaar, was launched in the Netherlands.

1990 Space Shuttle Atlantis launched with flight STS-38.

Space Shuttle Atlantis

2002  – Hu Jintao became general secretary of the Communist Party of China.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia.


Fairtrade is unfair

07/09/2008

The only really fair trade is free trade and some Fairtrade is actually anything but, as Dr Marsden Pririe writes at the Adam Smith Institue:

. . . the Fairtrade movement selects some producers to favour over others, insisting on cooperatives at the expense of family farms. By paying higher than market prices, it ensures that its favoured farmers do not have to respect market conditions which might tell others to cut back production in the event of a world surplus. They continue to plant and expand production, adding to the surplus and depressing prices for millions of poor farmers. As Griffiths says,

This is not just a matter of one lot of farmers receiving a little more and another lot a little less. It means subsidizing 1.5m coffee workers while paying 25m farm families – the coffee growers who are not part of Fairtrade – a lot less. Most of these are subsistence producers, whose income from coffee is tiny. Any fall in income will mean children dying from malnutrition or malaria.

This is one of those cases in which what were probably good intentions have ended up doing far more harm than good. Indeed, Griffiths closes by describing Fairtrade in uncompromising terms as “a scheme which threatens the impoverishment of millions.”

Hat tip: Anti Dismal


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