Market will find whey

August 20, 2015

Russian police have caught a band of cheese smugglers:

Russian police say they have broken up an international cheese smuggling ring that earned up to £20 million supplying banned western dairy products, in the latest twist in the country’s war-on-drugs style campaign against embargoed foreign food.

Russia banned a range of food products including cheese from the European Union, the United States, Canada, Norway, and Australia in 2014, in retaliation for Western sanctions imposed on Russia following the annexation of Crimea.

In a joint raid involving at least four law enforcement agencies, officers found 470 tons of banned western rennet, a substance containing enzymes used for cheese production, along with forged labels from major cheese producers, the country’s Interior Ministry said in a statement on Tuesday.

The “international criminal group,” which had been supplying illicit cheeses to shops in Moscow and St Petersburg, had earned two billion roubles (about £20 million) since launching their operation earlier this year, police said. . . 

Where there’s will for cheese which the government won’t allow, the market will find the whey, or the rennet or whatever else it needs.

 


GDT drops 6%

September 3, 2014

GlobalDairyTrade’s price index took another fall in this morning’s auction:

gdt30914

 

gdt3.914

One of our staff is Dutch and keeps up with news from home on the internet.

He said the Russian boycott of produce was causing a glut of vegetables in Holland. It will also be one of the factors impacting on dairy prices.

Meanwhile Russia will have to spend billions subsidising its farmers.

Russia’s agriculture minister has warned that Moscow must spend billions of dollars in the coming years subsidising farmers in order to avoid a shortage caused by its ban on most Western foods.

Agriculture Minister Nokolai Fyodorov’s stark comments on Wednesday (local time) represented Moscow’s first admission that its decision to strike back at US and EU sanctions with sweeping food bans, including those against Australia, may have long-term costs for both its budget and consumers.

The trade war is part of a broader crisis in East-West relations sparked by Russia’s perceived attempts to split strife-torn Ukraine in two after Kiev’s decision to seek a closer political and economic alliance with Europe.

Russia relies heavily on foreign fruits and vegetables because its long winters and inhospitable climate keep farmers from growing produce desired by the country’s booming middle class.

It also imports huge volumes of Australian and European meat along with US poultry and Norwegian salmon – all banned under Russian President Vladimir Putin’s orders earlier this month. . .

Russia isn’t boycotting our produce but goods not allowed into Russia will be competing with ours elsewhere.


Doing what we can

March 4, 2014

There’s not a lot that a small country like New Zealand can do when a large power like Russia threatens another country.

But we’re doing what we can.

Foreign Affairs Minister Murray McCully called the Russian ambassador in over the escalation of tensions.

Foreign Affairs Minister Murray McCully says the Russian Ambassador was called in to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade this afternoon over the escalation of tensions in Ukraine.

“On my instructions the Russian Ambassador has been called in to the Ministry to hear directly New Zealand’s views on the situation in the Ukraine,” Mr McCully says.

“New Zealand is deeply alarmed at the escalation of tensions in Ukraine over recent days and we condemn the breach of Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.

“We understand Russia has significant interests especially in the Crimean Peninsula, however they need to pursue these interests in a manner that is consistent with Russia’s treaty obligations, international law and accepted international norms.

“New Zealand calls on the Russian Government to take steps to reduce tensions and to engage in consultations with other affected parties to achieve this objective.”

We’re also using trade as a lever:

Prime Minister John Key ordered Trade Minister Tim Groser home from Russia today, ending for now any further discussions on a Russian free trade deal that has been three years in the making as Russia ratchets up pressure on Ukraine on the Crimean Peninsula.

Groser had been in Moscow for trade talks ahead of a possible visit to the Russian capital by Key in a fortnight as part of a global swing through China and Europe that will take in meetings with senior Chinese leadership and an international Nuclear Security Summit in the Netherlands.

Key said he was only missing Moscow on the forthcoming trip because suggested dates had not worked for the Russian president Vladimir Putin, although continuing to discuss an FTA with Russia in the present circumstances was not appropriate.

“I don’t think we could seriously, even if Mr Groser could tie up a deal this afternoon, (sign a free trade agreement) at the same time as we are expressing our deep concern about the threat to sovereignty in Ukraine,” said Key. . .

I wouldn’t go so far as this:

But trade, or a threat to it, is the strongest way we can condemn Russia’s actions.

 

 

 

 

 


Rural round up

August 4, 2013

Food, drink and stock feed in whey crisis – Stephen Bell,

No Fonterra-branded consumer products are affected by contaminated whey, the firm said this morning.

It referred to the crisis following revelations it had produced 38 tonnes of whey concentrate contaminated with the potentially deadly Clostridium botulinum, which can cause botulism, as “the quality issue”.

The farmer co-operative’s statement said it had assured consumers in global markets including Australia, Asia, China, Latin America, New Zealand and the Middle East that none of its range of branded consumer products contained the affected whey protein concentrate (WPC80).

In addition to branded consumer products, Fonterra markets a range of commercial ingredients under its NZMP label. These ingredients are sold to other food companies that use them to manufacture their own consumer products. . .

Fonterra botulism scare caused by dirty pipe –  Amelia Wade , Matthew Theunissen:

The potential contamination of Fonterra products with botulism occurred as a result of a dirty pipe at the company’s Hautapu plant, it says.

Fonterra is still refusing to disclose which of its eight customers were potentially affected by the contamination, saying it was up to them and their regulatory authorities to make those decisions.

Managing director of New Zealand milk products Gary Romano said the contamination occurred as a result of a dirty pipe at Fonterra’s Hautapu plant in Waikato. . .

Russia bans all Fonterra products  – Christopher Adams:

Russia has made one of the most extreme responses to Fonterra’s contamination scare so far, banning all goods made by the New Zealand dairy giant, according to media reports.

Russia was not on the list of affected countries released by Trade Minister Tim Grocer yesterday, which included New Zealand, Australia, China, Vietnam and Thailand.

Russian news agency RIA Novosti reported that the country’s consumer-protection watchdog was recalling Fonterra’s products, including infant formula, and advising consumers in Russia not to buy its products. . .

 

Asparagus bred to beat fungus – Tony Benny:

Canterbury plant breeder Peter Falloon has developed the world’s first asparagus cultivar to have resistance to phytophthora, a fungus that eats the plants’ roots and can devastate crops.

“It is exciting and the nice thing is it’s done in New Zealand, so the growers here can take advantage of it,” he said.

“One of the main drivers in food crops is reduced chemical application and this is a major aim of the asparagus industry in New Zealand. So this gives it a jump on the rest of the world.

“We can back some of our clean, green claims with the fact that this is one more chemical that we’re not using.” . . .

New HortNZ head well know to industry – Peter Watson:

Life just got even busier for Nelson fruit and berry grower Julian Raine with his election as president of Horticulture New Zealand.

Raine, who already has roles in other industry organisations, took over this week from Andrew Fenton who has been president since HortNZ’s inception in 2005.

Fenton said Raine was well respected in the industry and the ideal person to steer the national organisation through the next stage of its journey to becoming a $10 billion industry by 2020.

Raine, who was elected to the HortNZ board in 2011, said he accepted the nomination for president because he wanted to make a difference. . .

Organic carrots no hippy operation – Tony Cronshaw:

Rows of carrots spaced with a precision that could not be done by the human eye give the first clue that the Hicks family runs a modern arable operation.

There are no sandals or hippy beads at Willowmere Organic Farm in Hororata.

On the contrary, cultivated rows of carrots and other crops are prepared and planted at the large operation owned by the Hicks family of Kelvin and his parents, John and Trish, with satellite- aligned GPS equipment.

Kelvin says they make the most of advanced technology to push organic production. . .

Meads goes from breeding to beefing up events – Hugh Stringleman:

Performance Beef Breeders (PBB) chief executive Murray Meads has stepped down after 16 years to concentrate on events management and a new restaurant for the centre of Feilding.

Since 1997 Meads has grown the PBB bureau from four full-time staff members to 16, for the needs of 13 beef cattle breed societies and ancillary services and events.

His future role is events and project manager for Hot Wire Events, a new subsidiary of PBB. . .

This beautiful “189 Miles” wool installation by Angela Wright, featured in the Wool Modern Exhibition in Syndey in 2012 and wallspace at All Hallows church, London:

This beautiful wool installation by Angela Wright, featured in the Wool Modern Exhibition in Syndey in 2012. Click on the link to see the original exhibition and the creation process behind it  http://bit.ly/16NprGw
An illustrated explanation of how it was made is here. (Hat tip: Campaign for Wool)

Upsets good and bad

October 2, 2011

Last night’s upset win by Tonga against the French was a good upset.

Unless you happen to be French or a Francophile.

Scotland’s loss to England after a good start will have upset some.

Unless you’re one of those who weren’t hoping that Sctoland would go against the odds, win with a bonus point and so progress ot the quarter finals.

The Wallabies 68 -22 win over Russia wasn’t an upset but what’s described as a tournament-threatening injury to wing Drew Mitchell, on top of serious injuries to other players could be upsetting.

Unless you’re one of those who’s not wanting Australia to do very well.

This afternoon it looked like Georgia might upset Argentina until  Los Pumas took charge of the game which ensures them a spot in the quarter finals.

That would have upset Argentina’s supporters but pelased the Scots who would then have secured a place in the next round.

Like Adam Smith I wouldn’t go so far as to say it’s heartbreaking that Dan Carter is out of the Rugby World Cup altogether though I acknowledge that will be upsetting to many.

Although not those in or supporting one of the teams hoping to beat the All Blacks.

But let’s keep it in perspective, a team is made up of 15 players plus reserves. They will all be doing their best to ensure there’s no upsets for them and their supporters, especially in today’s match against Canada.

This afternoon I’m backing Fiji against Wales and will take the underdog in the match between Ireland and Italy.


C’mon Black

September 16, 2011

Russia scored first in their first Rugby World Cup game last night but my pick the USA finished ahead.

Tonight of course I’m backing black though if Japan was playing anyone else but New Zealand I’d be tempted to opt for them.

Blokes who are men enough to call themselves the Blossoms deserve support.


Trade makes new friends of old enemies

November 15, 2010

We were the first country in the world to get a free trade agreement with China and are now the first to begin free trade talks with Russia Belarus and Kazakhstan.

Negotiations on a free trade agreement between New Zealand and Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan will start early next year, Prime Minister John Key announced at the APEC Summit in Japan today.

“Free trade deals offer real benefits for jobs and economic growth in New Zealand and I am very pleased to be able to announce the start of negotiations on this FTA,” says Mr Key.

. . . “Russia is also one of the world’s emerging powerhouses, with Brazil, India and China.  It is the 12th largest economy in the world and the world’s fifth-largest food importer, with food imports reaching US$30 billion in 2008.

“An FTA with Russia would give us an improved position in that market.  New Zealand’s exports to Russia grew 267 per cent from NZ$51 million to NZ$187.1 million between 2000 and 2009. There is further strong growth potential, not only in food and beverage exports but also in agritech, specialised manufacturing and clothing.”

It’s good news for New Zealand in general and the primary sector in particular.

The Meat Industry Association and Beef + Lamb NZ  say improved market access in Russia will provide exciting opportunities.

B+LNZ Chairman, Mike Petersen said while Russia is currently a relatively small market for the New Zealand red meat industry, it’s a country with a substantial population of red meat consumers. They have increasing incomes and the potential to support significant market growth.

Over the last five years, the New Zealand red meat industry’s exports to Russia have been around $30 million annually, mainly consisting of sheepmeat and beef offals.

Exports peaked at $56 million in 2008 before the impact of the global financial crisis softened Russian demand for imported meat last year.

MIA Chairman, Bill Falconer said that while Russian imports of red meat have been volatile, the expectation is that Russian demand for red meat will continue to increase and that a significant proportion of this increased demand will have to be met by imports.

An arrangement with Russia would be significant if it provided genuine improved access into the market.

Securing an FTA with Russia is important because it’s not just about eliminating tariffs, it’s also about addressing non-tariff barriers that restrict trade, he said.

The Chairman of the Dairy Companies Association of New Zealand, Malcolm Bailey, said the FTA talks with Russia and its Customs Union partners, Belarus and Kazakhstan, as great news for the New Zealand dairy industry.

“New Zealand is really picking up pace in the FTA game” said Bailey.  “Adding Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan to our growing list of FTA partners should mean new market opportunities for New Zealand dairy exporters.  Russia is already a significant butter market for New Zealand and reducing trade restrictions will only lead to further growth and diversification in the future,” he said.

Bailey said it was also a smart strategy to place New Zealand as one of the first countries to negotiate an FTA with Russia.  “Russia is a vast country with an economy that promises to continue to grow in the coming years.  Projections are for very significant growth in dairy consumption met by imports in the medium term.  Integrating our export industries with expanding Russian wealth and consumption is a good place for New Zealand to be.”

Russia is the world’s largest market for imports of butter and cheese.  New Zealand exports last year were around 33,200 tonnes, mostly butter and cheese, worth approximately $120 million.  New Zealand has the largest share of butter imported into Russia, last year supplying 28,600 tonnes which was over 50% of Russia’s internationally imported butter.

It’s not very long ago that China and Russia were cold war enemies. It’s much better not just for the economy but for security to be friends.

That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be careful about dealing with people who have different cultures and different values from us. But trade is a very good way to develop positive relationships from which both sides can benefit.


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