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FAO opens new liaison office for agricultural cooperatives

Jul 10, 2012

FAO opened a new liaison office for cooperatives and producer organizations today in order to revitalize the Organization's collaboration with these organizations worldwide.

The opening comes a few days after the International Day of Cooperatives, celebrated on Saturday, July 7.

"We are confident that this liaison office will allow cooperatives and producer organizations to have a stronger voice as FAO's key partners in ending hunger and poverty," said FAO Director-General José Graziano da Silva at the opening ceremony, which was attended by representatives of the International Cooperative Alliance and the World Farmers Organization .

"Cooperatives and producer organizations have a key role to play in bringing about a future without hunger," he said. "Standing alone, a smallholder has fewer opportunities. When farmers get together, they have better condition to negotiate of price and better access to assets and services such as information, communication, input and output markets, natural resources, from local to international levels."

FAO in partnership with producer organizations and cooperatives will continue to encourage governments to establish favourable policies, legal frameworks, economic incentives and participatory processes in which agricultural and food cooperatives as well as producer organizations develop and become strong, equitable and efficient enterprises.

In 2011 alone, more than 180 FAO programmes and projects in over 100 countries in the world, helped to build and strengthen the capacities of producer organizations, cooperatives and local community groups to reach their organizational goals.

A revamped website on FAO partnerships including producer groups and cooperatives is now online.

Agricultural cooperatives are already powerful in many countries. They play a significant socio-economic role in terms of livelihoods, income generation and social inclusion.

In Brazil, cooperatives were responsible for 37.2 percent of agricultural GDP and 5.4 percent of overall GDP in 2009, and earned about $3.6 billion from exports. In Mauritius, cooperatives account for more than 60 percent of national production in the food crop sector and in Kenya the savings and credit cooperatives have assets worth $2.7 billion, which account for 31 percent of gross national savings. In Egypt 4 million farmers earned their income from membership in agricultural cooperatives, and in India 16.5 million liters of milk are collected from 12 million dairy farmers daily, most of which are women.

In 2012, the UN celebrates the International Year of Cooperatives, while World Food Day, held each year on 16 October, has as its 2012 theme: Agricultural cooperatives - key to feeding the world.


Global meat consumption to rise 73 percent by 2050: FAO

Dec 15, 2011

ROME – The rapidly growing world population will be consuming two-thirds more animal protein by 2050 than it does today, according to a new Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) study titled World Livestock 2011, which was recently published. Fueling an ongoing trend toward greater per capita consumption of animal protein in developing countries are population and income growth the study relays. By 2050, meat consumption is projected to increase almost 73 percent; dairy consumption is predicted to grow 58 percent. A lot of the future demand for livestock production, particularly in the world's largest cities where population growth is occurring the most, will be satisfied by large-scale, intensive animal-rearing operations. "As it stands, there are no technically or economically viable alternatives to intensive production for providing the bulk of the livestock food supply for growing cities," FAO's report states. Such systems, however, are a concern because of potential environmental impacts, such as groundwater pollution and greenhouse gas emissions, as well as their potential to act as incubators of diseases, the study warns. “An urgent challenge is to make intensive production more environmentally benign," the study states. There are three ways to accomplish this, FAO relays: reduce the pollution level generated from waste and greenhouse gases; cut the water and grain input needed for each output of livestock protein; and recycle agro-industrial by-products through livestock populations. "It is hard to envisage meeting projected demand by keeping twice as many poultry, 80 percent more small ruminants, 50 percent more cattle and 40 percent more pigs, using the same level of natural resources as currently," World Livestock 2011 pointed out. Production increases must come from improving livestock systems efficiencies in converting natural resources into food and reducing waste. Handling these increases will require capital investment and a supporting policy and regulatory environment. Other challenges must be confronted, including drought, water shortages and other climate-related impacts – as well as the threat of animal diseases, some which may directly threaten human health – all of which must be carefully managed as livestock production increases. Intensive systems, and those that encroach upon forest environments or peri-urban areas without proper hygiene, are a fertile ground for new diseases — and many of them are managed in ways that are detrimental to animal health and welfare, according to the study. Global production of poultry meat increased by approximately 700 percent since 1967,. Other products saw surges in production as well, including eggs, which registered a 350 percent increase, pig meat, 290 percent; sheep and goat meat, 200 percent; beef and buffalo meat, 180 percent; and milk, 180 percent. Currently, livestock products supply 12.9 percent of calories consumed worldwide — 20.3 percent in developed countries. Their contribution to protein consumption is estimated at 27.9 percent worldwide and 47.8 percent in developed countries. Production has expanded rapidly in East and Southeast Asia and in Latin America and the Caribbean, but growth in sub-Saharan Africa has been slow. The average consumption of livestock protein in Africa is less than one-quarter of that in the Americas, Europe and Oceania, and represents just 17 percent of the recommended consumption level for all proteins, FAO's study stated. "By contrast, the consumption of livestock protein in the Americas, Europe and Oceania in 2005 was between 78 and 98 percent of the total protein requirement, suggesting that livestock products are being over-consumed," it added. Livestock and livestock products in the developing world, however, can make a major contribution to household economic and food security plus nutrition. Even small amounts of animal protein can improve the nutritional status of low-income households.     

EU requests new checks on aspartame sweetener

May 27, 2011

The European Commission has requested a complete review of the safety of aspartame in response to concerns over the widely used sweetener, the European Food Safety Authority said Wednesday."We have received an official request for a complete re-evaluation of the safety of aspartame," Lucia De Luca, a spokeswoman for the Italy-based organisation, told AFP, adding that the request was still being examined.     

Govt approves Rs 5,000 cr working capital loan for FCI

Mar 30, 2011

The government on Tuesday approved a short-term loan of Rs 5,000 crore for Food Corporation of India (FCI), which will help the organisation meet its working capital requirements this fiscal. The proposal was cleared in the meeting of the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) held here. "The CCEA today approved a short-term loan of Rs 5,000 crore to the FCI for 2010-11," an official statement said.     

Italy’s Wheat Imports Climbed 15% to Eight-Year High in 2010

Mar 21, 2011

Imports of wheat into Italy, the world’s third-largest buyer of the grain, rose to an eight-year high in 2010 as domestic production fell, data from the national cereal-industry association showed. Overall inbound wheat shipments gained 15 percent to 7.39 million metric tons from 6.45 million tons a year earlier, the Rome-based Associazione Nazionale Cerealisti, known as Anacer, said in an e-mailed statement today. That was the largest amount shipped in since 2002.     

The food quantity which Italy exports to China grows 57% in 2010

Mar 02, 2011

According to the National Federation of Italian Farming (COLDIRETTI),the food demand in China is growing swiftly. It is along with the new rich stratum's expansion in China. The amount of exports to China grew 57% compared to the same period from January November in 2010.     

Italian 10-Month Grain Imports Increase 9.1% on Wheat, Barley

Jan 19, 2011

Italy’s grain imports rose 9.1 percent in the first 10 months of 2010 on demand for wheat and barley, the national cereal-industry association said. Inbound shipments advanced to 9.87 million metric tons from 9.05 million tons a year earlier, the Rome-based Associazione Nazionale Cerealisti, known as Anacer, said in an e-mailed statement today. Italy is the largest European Union importer of grain from outside the bloc, partly because of the country’s requirements for durum wheat to make pasta.     

Russia sharply reduces purchase of Italian apples

Dec 08, 2010

According to information from Fruit-Inform Project, volumes of supplies of Italian apples to the Russian market were sharply lowered in the new season. Russian purchasers are interested in purchasing apples of “80+” diameter that enter premium segment. But, as to Italian trade sources, there are few big apples in Italy this year due to abnormally cold spring. Besides this, prices for apples in Russia are now significantly higher than in the last year, while the buying capacity of Russians does not impress yet. As a result, Italian apples occur to be too high in price, and purchase of produce is conducted primarily in Ukraine, Moldova, and Poland. Russian importers expect activity to increase significantly from mid January, as Russia will half import duty for apples on January 1st. At the same time, at current farmgate prices for apples of large diameter, volumes of their supplies to Russian market may significantly decrease. According to information from the analytical department of Fruit-Inform Project, Italy annually supplies the Russian market with 20,000-24,000 tonnes of apples, primarily in the high price segment. Poland and China are leaders in volumes of supplies of apples to Russia, as they share 40% of overall imports of fresh apples.     

M&M in pact with Italian firm for supply of tillers

Dec 07, 2010

Mahindra & Mahindra has signed an agreement with Italy's Maschio-Gespardo for supply of a complete range of its tillage equipment to Mahindra AppliTrac business. M&M will launch Maschio rotavators under the Mahindra brand. The rotavators will be available across Mahindra and Swaraj dealerships. Other rotary tillage equipment for planting, seeding, crop care and crop residue management would also be supplied by Maschio. This agreement will facilitate availability of an extensive variety of farm machinery to provide better mechanisation to farmers, said Dr Pawan Goenka, President, Automotive & Farm Equipment Sectors. The Mahindra AppliTrac business, part of M&M's FES, focuses on the complete value chain of farm mechanisation solutions ranging from land preparation to post-harvest. The company already sells a range of combine harvesters, rice planters and sugarcane harvesters, which contribute around Rs 100 crore to its overall revenue.     

Rise in Italian tomato imports

Nov 01, 2010

France saw a decrease in the volume of tomatoes exported in the first half of 2010, meanwhile there was a rise of 30.22% in Italian tomato exports. The total of 92,807 tonnes of tomato exported by France in the first 5 months of this year was 22.3% less than 2009's 59,940 tonnes. Imports of tomatoes into the country also fell, totalling 258,411 tonnes in the same period, down 11.2% on 2009. Italy's tomato exports for the first 6 moths of 2010 were recorded at 78,057 tonnes, compared ton 59,940 tonnes in the same period in 2009 As for imports, Italy bought 26.92% less than in 2009.     

Export growth speeds up to 23.2%, makes space for capital flow curbs

Oct 26, 2010

Exports rose to a 24-month high in September while imports grew a tad less, lowering the trade deficit and creating policy space for the government to restrict the destabilising capital flows without worrying about funding the large gap between imports and exports. Exports grew 23.2% to $18.02 billion while imports rose 26.1% to $27.1 billion, which helped restrict the trade deficit to $9.12 billion from an alarming more than $13 billion in August. “If you have huge (trade) deficits, you have to accept inflows. Lower deficit will allow the government to contemplate taking measures to control capital flows just like Brazil did,” said Biswajit Dhar, director general , Research & Information System (RIS) for developing countries. The government has watched the rupee rally sharply as foreign money has come rushing into India to benefit from the high growth here, but the large trade deficit has made restrictive measures difficult.     

Italian Grain Imports Advance 6% in Seven Months on Wheat, Barley Demand

Oct 20, 2010

Italy’s grain imports in the first seven months of 2010 rose 6 percent on demand for soft wheat and barley, the national cereal-industry association said.Inbound shipments from January to July climbed to 6.73 million metric tons from 6.34 million tons in the year-earlier period, the Rome-based Associazione Nazionale Cerealisti, known as Anacer, said in an e-mailed statement today.Italy is the European Union’s largest buyer of grain from outside the 27-nation bloc, partly because of requirements for durum wheat to make pasta.     

India to play a vital role in solving global agri challenges

Sep 14, 2010

India is destined to play a vital role in addressing key global agricultural challenges, the United States has said. "India will play a vitally important role in solving these kinds of challenges, not only for India, but for the region and the world," State Department spokesman P J Crowley told reporters here. "We would certainly reflect, and the Secretary (of State) has talked before about the importance of the first Green Revolution and what it has meant to food security in India and other aspects of the developing world," he said in response to a question. Crowley said that that the US would certainly want to see how they might be able to work collaboratively on a Green Revolution 2.0. The response has come a day after the Under Secretary of State Bob Hormats delivered remarks at the Khalsa College in New Delhi. These statements were focused on US-Indian agriculture cooperation, one of the major topics of cooperation between the United States and India, and emphasized the need for new collaborative efforts to seek solutions to the agricultural challenges that the two countries jointly face.     

Indian delegation visits Italy and other Scandanavian countries

Jul 13, 2010

A high level delegation headed by Shri Narinder Bragta, Horticulture and Technical Education Minister is visiting European countries from 12th July to 16th July, 2010, on the invitation of Chamber of Commerce, Bolzano and Italy. The delegation comprises of Additional Secretary and Director, Horticulture, Himachal Pradesh and members of the Agriculture and Processed Food Export Development Agency (APEDA).The delegation will visit Italy and other Scandanavian Countries. The delegation will study the latest technology as improved variety of root stock/nurseries, cool chain and C.A. Storages, etc in those countries. It may recalled that the State Government has decided to start Rs. 85 crore scheme for the replacement of old plantation with latest varieties.     

Italian grape harvested for first time in Nashik

Jul 07, 2010

A Nashik winery has become the first in India to commercially plant an Italian grape here. Vintage Wines, which started producing the Reveilo label from its 100-acre vineyard in 2000, planted the Grillo white grape and Sangiovese and Nero d’Avola red grapes, all from Sicily, in 2006. Unfortunately, not enough of the Sangiovese crop was ready to harvest and it was let to grow for another year. Thus the Grillo and Nero D’Avola were harvested in 2009 and went on sale in April. “I was in Siciliy, and our Italian wine consultant handed me a Grillo blend and I liked it so much that I thought we could make it here,” says director of Vintage Wines, Yatin Patil (36). Until then Reveilo, like most Indian wine producers, had only planted the French grapes, Syrah, Chardonnay, Chenin Blanc and Cabernet Sauvignon in India. “We have an Italian winemaker and he said Sicilian varieties would do well in the Nashik climate, as it is close to that of Sicily, and since I was bringing Grillo, I looked at what else I could bring here” he explains. “They both grew very well and adapted nicely to the climate. The mortality was less than five per cent, which is better than in regular varieties,” he says.     

Syria-Italy Cooperation in Trade, Agriculture

Jun 30, 2010

Tartous Governor Atef al-Naddaf on Monday discussed with a delegation from the Italian Exporters Assembly, headed by Jean Carlo Daniele, means of enhancing agricultural cooperation and increasing trade exchange volume between the two sides. Naddaf spoke about the importance of opening a direct sea lane between Syria and Italy as a step towards increasing volume of trade change between the two countries, calling on the Italian side to carry out investment projects that help promote Syrian products in the Italian markets. He said that Tartous Province is working on setting up a new vegetable market in Banias City, in which the Italian side can invest in. He highlighted the importance of setting up a company for packing vegetables and fruits similar to the Italian firms. For his part, Daniele called on representatives of Syrian vegetable packing companies to visit Italy to get acquainted with market requirements, work mechanism and the nature of the products required in the Italian market.     

USA - Trade agreements vital to the meat trade

Jun 23, 2010

Passage and implementation of the three Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) currently pending would represent an additional $2.3 billion in meat and poultry exports and the potential creation of 29,524 new jobs, according to a white paper released today by the American Meat Institute (AMI). “It is clear that the road to both robust job and economic growth lies in expanding America’s export markets,” said J. Patrick Boyle, president and CEO of the American Meat Institute (AMI). Boyle noted that the trade expansion deals between the U.S. and South Korea, Panama and Colombia have been awaiting Congressional approval for years and the U.S. is losing market share as a result. “While the U.S. is waiting to enact these FTAs, our competitors are moving forward,” said Boyle. The data reveal that passage of the agreements could increase U.S. exports of beef by $1.4 billion, pork by $772 million and poultry by $102 million. The jobs resulting from this growth, both in the commodity groups and downstream, would include an estimated 18,000 jobs in the beef industry, 10,300 jobs in the pork industry and 1,200 jobs in the poultry industry. Trade numbers are based on projections from the respective commodity groups. Job creation data is based on employment multiplier projections from USDA’s Economic Research Service (ERS) and industry groups which estimate: • For every $1 billion in beef exports, 12,700 jobs are created. • For every $1 billion in pork exports, 13,333 jobs are created. • For every $1 billion in poultry exports, 11,853 jobs are created. In 2009, the value of exported meat, poultry and related products totaled $11.7 billion, up from $9.4 billion in 2007. According to ERS, U.S. meat exports are predicted to rise over the next decade, from 5.9 million metric tons in 2009 to nearly 7.1 million metric tons in 2019. “However, if we are going to realize this potential, we need to pass these trade agreements and move forward on expanding our export markets as we     

MP Govt. invites Italian Industrialists to invest in the State

Jun 22, 2010

Bhopal: Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan, who is on a foreign tour, has invited the industrialists and investors of Italy to invest in Madhya Pradesh. According to an official Press release, while addressing the Industry Interactive Session in Rome, Chouhan said that the environment is better in Madhya Pradesh for investment in different fields. Agriculture and food processing, projects of infrastructure development, construction units, information technology, automobile, industries based on mines, energy etc. are the main fields where investments could be made. For investment in these fields enough infrastructure are available in Madhya Pradesh, he said. He invited the industrialists, investors and developers to attend the Global Investors' Summit in October next in Khajuraho. Addressing the session, Industries Minister Kailash Vijayavargiya reportedly said that Madhya Pradesh is moving fast towards economic and industrial progress. During the last few years there was fast progress in infrastructure development. He said that Madhya Pradesh is the best place in the country for investing in different fields. Birla Corporation Chairman Harsh Lodha gave a presentation based on possibilities and opportunities in Madhya Pradesh. He told the audience about his experience in investment in Madhya Pradesh and encouraged and attracted them to invest in the state. Additional Chief Secretary (Industry) Satyaprakash made a comprehensive presentation covering resources, facilities, concessions, available to investors in Madhya Pradesh and the present policy, rules and regulations. His presentation also explained about the notified special industrial areas for investing in different sectors in the state. Industrial scenario in Madhya Pradesh, possibilities of investment etc. were informed through video presentation which influenced the assembled industrialists and investors at the Session. Earlier, Sourabh Kumar, Charge d' Affairs of India in Rome, welco     

Italy Bitter About EU Food Labelling Rules

Jun 18, 2010

The European Parliament on Wednesday voted for a draft proposal which toughens mandatory nutritional information on food labels with the aim to fight rising levels of obesity in Europe. Italian media on Thursday said products like the Nutella hazelnut spread could "disappear" from Italian culinary culture under the proposed rules, which limit advertising of foodstuffs that exceed specific amounts of salt, sugar and fat. "The Battle for Nutella Goes to Europe," headlined La Stampa, one of many newspapers which raised the spectre of losing the spread that is embedded in the Italian psyche from childhood. In fact, one of Nutella's most well-known advertising slogans is "What kind of world would it be without Nutella". Agriculture and Food Minister Giancarlo Galan slammed the proposal as "nonsense" and wrote a tough-worded letter to Brussels asking for a softer approach. "Sometimes, the strict application of rules ... reveals their stupidity," Galan told reporters. Nutella producer Ferrero -- which also makes Kinder chocolate eggs for children and the high-end Ferrero Rocher sweets -- said the EU plans could dampen "the most healthy and genuine pleasures". In a statement, Ferrero Vice President Paolo Fulci said EU rules should not be allowed "to affect the most intimate aspects of private life." Ferrero is one of Italy's richest and most successful family-owned companies. The proposal has to be approved by all EU governments and is unlikely to be finalised before 2012. All indications are it will have a rocky road in Italy. According to the draft rules, food companies would have to label the energy, sugar, salt and fat content of their foodstuffs on the front of packages, with protein, unsaturated fats and fibre added to the list. After much industry lobbying however, EU lawmakers rejected proposals for mandatory "traffic light" labels on certain convenience foods and soft drinks, with red, amber or green colour codes showing the relative h     

In Italy, a university for Slow Food gastronomes

Jun 14, 2010

Students from all over the world are flocking to a one-of-a-kind university devoted to the Slow Food movement, founded nearly a quarter century ago to promote "good, clean and fair" food. Nestled in the heart of the Langhe wine-producing region, near the white truffle "capital" Alba, the University of Gastronomic Sciences (UNISG) has a student body of more than 300. Visitors to the six-year-old university, housed in a sprawling 19th-century complex once owned by the House of Savoy, may be surprised to see no pots or pans in the classrooms. "The university was born from (Slow Food founder) Carlo Petrini's idea of looking at gastronomy like a science, stressing the affective, cultural and humanistic ingredients without which one cannot understand the value of food," said UNISG director Valter Cantino. The students are not on the way to becoming chefs but rather gastronomes, "new figures" capable of working in all areas of "quality food-processing", including production, distribution, promotion and communication, the university says in its prospectus. The curriculum emphasizing the fight against globalization and encouraging environmentally friendly local agriculture includes courses in agronomy, wine-growing, biology, sensory food analysis, history of cuisine and wine, anthropology and marketing. Students make five field trips a year away from the campus in the northern Piedmont region to sites in Italy and abroad. One of them, Laine Steelman of California, learned the values of the Slow Food movement as a teenager, working as an assistant to American celebrity chef Alice Waters, he told AFP. Steelman, like other future gastronomes here, is determined to carry the banner of the Slow Food movement, whose membership has swelled to more than 100,000 in 132 countries since Petrini founded it in 1986. With the current (world economic) crisis, everything has changed," said Steelman, 26. "Everyone knows we must change our food industry and concentrate more on loc