Monday, January 2, 2012


Given the current restraints Indian mango exports face to the USA market, SAVANI FARMS has come up with an internet based mango program in conjunction with FEDEX that is very efficient.

The program is focused on quality and timeliness rather than volume, and reaps a reward for all concerned.



“Mega food parks, cold chains and modernisation of abattoirs would drive major investments”
Monday, January 02, 2012

End of a Plan period is usually a challenging time for bureaucrats as their work comes under scanner for gauging progress made in five years.

With the 11th Five Year Plan soon coming to an end and the next Plan dominating parliamentary proceedings, the ministry of food processing industries (MoFPI) is gearing up to face fresh challenges.

Rakesh Kacker, secretary, MoFPI, in a conversation with Irum Khan lends an insight into how the ministry is going about the job

What is the proposed outlay for the 12th Plan….Which will be the focus areas?

We have proposed a sum of Rs 15,000 crore for the entire Plan period. Infrastructure development would be a major thrust area and mega food parks, cold chains and modernisation of abattoirs would drive major investments.

What is the change that the 12th Five Year Plan will highlight?

It would precisely relate to the working strategy of the ministry. We want to work in a more decentralised manner. We would want all schemes except the mega food parks, promotional and R&D to be done at the states level. Further, we want schemes like technology upgrade, HRD (Human Resource Development), part of cold chain scheme, modernisation of abattoirs to be taken up by the states. This is part of the 12th Plan proposal. 

Your ministry has admitted to non-functionality of most of the mega food parks barring two or three. Will investment still go into this project?

Projects like mega food parks are infrastructural projects which take time. There were land related issues which delayed execution. However, we are receiving a lot of interest from the industry. The government has now approved 30 mega food parks. The plan is to have one mega food park in each state and if the proposal is good enough we can even have two parks subject to the availability of space.

MoFPI has recently approved cold chain projects, brief us about them.

Cold chain projects are vital components of the Plan especially given the high amount of food wastage in the country. The idea is to have an entire chain of cold storages from farm to fork rather than standalone cold storages. We have approved 49 proposals for extending government subsidy of about Rs 380 crore in the 11th Plan. However, the total subsidy earmarked for the project was Rs 610 crore. We will have to take a decision about the balance amount. We have a mechanism in place to select those candidates eligible for the grants.

The ministry has made Vision 2015. Do you think such Visions are realistic?

(Chuckles) The point is to experience growth and more processing. Yes, we must have a long-term vision on hand to give a direction to our plan.

Do you consider inconsistencies in the rate of VAT (Value-Added Tax) between states as hurdle?

VAT is not a constraint but we would like to see VAT rate minimum for the food industry. The industry should have minimum taxes and more incentives.

Is obtaining statistics for growth and employment a problem?

Well not really, the data provided by the ministry of statistics is pretty reliable.

What will be the major task for MoFPI going forward?

We would want to get over with the problems of mega food parks.

What is the problem?

The problem lies in getting the land. For promoters to get land with all its clearances is a problem. We are looking for some solution in this area.

Is there a need to strengthen the monitoring of the schemes given the number of schemes undertaken by MoFPI?

We do have monitoring agencies which appraise individual projects. For instance, we have Project Management Institute (PMI) and Infrastructure Leasing & Financial Service Ltd (IL&FS) for mega food parks. Cold chain is taken care of by IL&FS and we are planning to involve NHB (National Horticulture Board) in this project.

What is the plan for R&D?

We have a scheme for R&D projects as well. We sanction around Rs 8 crore for these projects per year and these are generally small projects.

You have been around for five months now. What are the projects initiated under your leadership and what are likely to come about in the next six months?

None (chuckles). We are only planning to strengthen the existing projects.

STAGE THREE DAKAR RALLY 2012: SAN RAFAEL - SAN JUAN ( 3 legs left in argentina) ...





Defending Dakar Rally motorcycling champion Marc Coma claims 17th career stage win to claim lead

From corrrespondents in San Rafael, Argentina
January 03, 2012 7:40AM

Qatar's defending Dakar Rally car champion Nasser Al-Attiyah rebounded from losing 10 minutes on the first stage by taking Monday's second stage in Argentina.

Ultimate Guide to the Dakar Rally

Tough: Ultimate Guide to the Dakar Rally + 1

The 31-year-old - who had an engine problem with his Hummer in Sunday's opener - beat Mini's Stephane Peterhansel of France by 54 seconds in the 290km drive from Santa Rosa de la Pampa.

Dakar Standings

Motos (after day two)
Marc Coma (ESP) KTM   
Francisco Lopez (CHI) Aprilia
Cyril Depres (FRA) KTM
Jakub Przygonski (POL) KTM
Joan Barreda Bort (ESP) Husq
David Casteu (FRA) Yamaha
Javier Pizzolito (ARG) Honda   
Pal Ullevalseter (NOR) KTM
Pedrero Garcia (ESP) KTM
Jordi Villadoms (ESP) KTM

Cars (after day two)
N. Al-Attiyah (QAT), Hummer
Stephane Peterhansel (FRA), Mini
Robby Gordon (USA), Hummer
Krzysztof Holowczyc (POL), Mini
Nani Roma (ESP), Mini
Giniel De Villiers (RSA), Toyota
Guilherme Spinelli (BRA), Mitsu
Leonid Novitzkiy (RUS) Mini
Ricardo Dos Santos (PRT), Mini
Lucio Alvarez (ARG), Toyota
Geoff Olholm (AUS) Desert Warrior


Peterhansel - a six-time Dakar motorcycling champion and three times in the car section - took the overall lead ahead of Al-Attiyah's Hummer team-mate Robby Gordon of the United States.

Al-Attiyah, who moved up to sixth, won despite his windscreen smashing and admitted that he needed to drive more carefully in the forthcoming stages.

"We broke the window, and it was very difficult because it took a lot of time to pass the other cars," said the Qatari, who started in 38th position.

KTM... Spain's Marc Coma claimed his 17th career stage-win on day two of the Dakar Rally.
Source: AFP

"I just said that we had to have a good strategy and show we were still in the race.

"However, we must be more clever."

Peterhansel said that he had not found many opportunities to gain time on his rivals.

"The start of the special was fast, so it wasn't possible to steal a march on any of the other drivers," said the 46-year-old.

"We felt better at the end when it started to bump around a bit and get trickier around the dunes."

Gordon cursed his luck at not taking the stage on what was his 43rd birthday.

"It was a good day for us, everything about the car was good," said Gordon, whose best finish in the race was third in 2009.

"However, we hit a big rock and got a puncture and I reckon that, without that, we could have won the stage."

Motorcycling champion Marc Coma had earlier won his 17th career stage in the race.

The Spaniard moved to the top of the standings after winning the 295km second stage which also saw him extend his lead over KTM team-mate and main rival Cyril Despres.

Despres finished second in the stage but was 1min 18sec in arrears of Coma.

First stage winner Francisco "Chaleco" Lopez of Chile was ahead at the first time marker but faded to finish fourth over two minutes behind Coma.

Coma said that he had enjoyed the initial tussle with Lopez.

"Chaleco and me were riding at top speed and let me tell you, the Aprilia is very, very quick," said Coma.

"After that, we arrived at the second part of the special with sand and dunes. It was a lot more technical, with some navigation to do as well. I took the lead and kept riding at a good pace. I'm happy because I didn't get lost. So, it's been a good day for me," added the 35-year-old.

Despres nevertheless experienced a better day than he had on Sunday - when he finished 13th - and the three-time champion is nearly three minutes adrift of Coma.

"The first special was a good warm-up and this second special has done my confidence good ... It was a good day overall," said the Frenchman.

One of Despres' compatriots Bruno Da Costa was not so fortunate.

The 38-year-old Yamaha rider crashed into a cow - which was killed instantly - and he was taken to hospital with what appeared to be a serious kidney injury. 


JYJ Starts New Year With Sending 2,000 Trees To Africa

by KpopStarz Reporter
Updated: January 2, 2012 5:06 PM EST

JYJ is starting a new year with kind charity.

'Tree Planting Project', C-Jes Entertainment stars started, ended on Dec. 2 with $25,000 raised. 

C-Jes Entertainment commented "'Tree Planting Project' with Kim Jae Joong, Park Yoo Chun, Kim Joon Soo and other stars raised $25,000, As a result, 2,000 mango trees and apple trees wil be send to Sudan in Africa".

Park Yoo Chun and Kim Jae Joong, who won the Rookie of the Year awards on MBC and SBS, said "This is very meaningful for us, and I believe fans will be delighted the most. I will do the best to satisfy the high expectation around us. With no mistakes in preparing Musical Elizabeth starting in Feb, tour in South America, I promise you to show all that I improved much as JYJ and also Actors".


Thane destroys 80 per cent crops


Express News Service , The New Indian Express


CUDDALORE: Farmers in the district received a major setback as around 80 per cent of crops such as paddy, sugarcane, banana, jackfruit, mango, coconut and cashew have been uprooted by the monster cyclone Thane.

“Agriculture will take seven years to limp back to normalcy. We do not have any other option to run our livelihood as we are totally dependent on our lands that was ravaged by the cyclone,” said farmers of Ramapuram village.

The villages situated on Caper Hill here were the worst-hit, as the cyclone directly struck this place without any hindrances because of its elevated location. 

Various crops planted on thousands of acres on the hill were destroyed. 

Farmers are expecting Rs 20,000 per acre for paddy crop, Rs30,000 per acre for banana, Rs 25,000 per acre for sugarcane, Rs10,000 per acre for coconut trees and Rs 3,000 for rose plants as compensation. Farmers expect government to waive their loans in national and co-operative banks.

“If we plant cashew and jackfruit saplings now, it will take more than seven years to give us yield. We do not have money to resume farming. We had already mortgaged our lands in banks. Hence, we cannot think of taking another loan and we cannot even sell our lands. We also borrowed money from local money lenders on interest. So, we cannot borrow money again. Now, government is our only hope,” said R Dakshinamoorthy, a farmer of Ramapuram.

It was these villages that fed thousands of farmers when they took asylum on Caper Hill during the 2004 tsunami. But tsunami had destroyed only the coastal areas, Thane hit the entire district.

“We cooked food and served it to fishermen for more than a week after tsunami. We gave them bunch of bananas and other crops then. Now, we do not have rice to cook. Our crops had been spoiled. Our life is gone,” rued farmers of S Puthur.

Sagunthala of Andikuppam breaks into tears: “We had planted mango, cashew and jackfruit trees, and in return they take care of our lives. Now we are left alone as all the trees were uprooted.” 



Mueren dos espectadores del Dakar en caída de avioneta
Un adulto y un niño que seguían el rally Dakar 2012 desde una avioneta particular murieron cuando la nave se precipitó a tierra.

El Dakar arrancó ayer en Argentina (Efe)
lunes 2 de enero de 2012 11:56 AM

Buenos Aires.- Dos espectadores que este domingo seguían la primera etapa del rally Dakar 2012 desde una avioneta particular murieron cuando el ultraliviano sufrió un desperfecto y se precipitó a tierra, según asegura hoy la prensa local.

El accidente ocurrió este domingo al mediodía en la zona de Tres Arroyos, en la provincia de Buenos Aires, cerca de donde pasaban los vehículos de la competencia automovilística, destacó DPA.

Las víctimas fueron identificadas como Luis Marcelo Soldavini, de 37 años, y su hijo Tomás, de 12.

El Dakar 2012 ya había tenido un primer capítulo trágico cuando, también este domingo, murió el piloto argentino Jorge Martínez Boero luego de que perdiera el control de su moto en medio de una extensa recta. 


World in New Era of Low Growth: South Korea President

Published: Sunday, 1 Jan 2012 | 10:16 PM ET

By: Reuters

South Korea's president said on Monday the global economy was not simply in a temporary slump but had entered a new era of low growth and pledged to bring down inflation, which spiked to a three-year high last year.

Getty Images

President Lee Myung-bak reaffirmed in a televised new year address that the government would put the policy priority on bringing inflation down to close to 3 percent this year. Annual average inflation hit 4 percent in 2011.

"The waves (of economic difficulty) will likely be much higher this year. The global economy is not in a temporary slump but has entered a new era of low growth," Lee said.

Separately, Finance Minister Bahk Jae-wan said in his new year statement the euro zone's fiscal crisis would probably reach its worst point during the first half.

President Lee's pledge to focus on fighting inflation came even as Asia's fourth-largest economy is already slowing on a cooling demand from Europe and other major markets.

Lee's conservative Grand National Party is suffering from falling popularity on a public outcry over the widening wealth divide, high prices and disappointing job growth as the country is due to hold two nationwide elections this year.

Lee is due to step down at the end of his five-year term in early 2013 and is barred by the constitution from running for a second term.


Zona libre de mosca de los frutos

Argentina: USDA reconoce la producción frutícola de Mendoza

El Departamento de Agricultura de los EEUU anunció oficialmente que reconocerá a los oasis del Centro y Sur de Mendoza como áreas libres de mosca de los frutos.

La medida fue tomada luego del trabajo realizado por los organismos técnicos de ambos países con el apoyo de la Cancillería argentina y el Ministerio de Agricultura, Ganadería y Pesca de la Nación.

Este reconocimiento mejorará las condiciones de acceso de las frutas y hortalizas argentinas al mercado de los Estados Unidos.

La medida adoptada por el USDA elimina el tratamiento exigido en la actualidad, reduciendo los costos de exportación y facilitando la logística en la comercialización, particularmente de duraznos, ciruelas, peras y damascos.

Beneficiará también el comercio de cerezas, que a partir de ahora se podrán exportar vía aérea sin tener que someterse al tratamiento de frío que reducía su calidad comercial.

La Argentina es el tercer proveedor de cerezas y frutas de carozo a EE.UU con u$s 1,5 millones.

En el caso de las peras, Argentina se ubicó como segundo proveedor, con u$s 32 millones de dólares de exportaciones, según Ambito Financiero

Fecha de publicación: 02/01/2012


Produce shippers ready for early Chinese New Year

12/29/2011 4:07:06 PM
Mike Hornick

Pamela Riemenschneider

Chinese New Year’s early arrival this year – Jan. 23 – has limited opportunities for some produce shippers, but brands like Frieda’s and Melissa’s will have had retail marketing efforts in place for weeks.

It’s the year of the dragon — a symbol of power and prosperity – on the Chinese calendar. The holiday fell on Feb. 3 and Feb 14 in 2011 and 2010, respectively.

“We needed some more time to get fruit packed and sent,” said Loren Queen, marketing and communications manager at Domex Superfresh Growers, Yakima, Wash. “We would have preferred February. It was a good Chinese New Year, but the timing is a killer when we’re two to three weeks late on the apple harvest and the holiday is two to three weeks early.”

Fuji apples filled in some of the demand that couldn’t be met with red delicious – down 8% this year in Washington – or gala. The deep-red strains of gala required for the Chinese New Year market are still young and coloring wasn’t ideal, Queen said. Red, green and gold are symbolic colors for the holiday.

“Our fujis were up nearly 40%,” he said. Apple exports for the holiday have been completed.

Others, eyeing the U.S. market, welcomed the Jan. 23 date.

“The timing keeps the momentum going,” said Hazel Kelly, spokeswoman for Los Alamitos, Calif.-based Frieda’s Inc. “Retailers have been pushing and promoting Thanksgiving, Christmas and Hanukkah, and now it’s almost a dead zone. Chinese New Year can pump up the sales and keep the momentum going. It’s actually helping the Buddha’s hand, which is an earlier citrus.”

Courtesy Frieda's Inc.

Frieda’s Specialty Produce offered a 16-by-36-inch Chinese New Year banner for retail clients participating in the company's Year of the Dragon promotion. Frieda's has promoted the holiday since 1973.Frieda offers a Year of the Dragon promotion to retail clients, including a 16-by-36-inch Chinese New Year banner and point of purchase signs. Frieda’s will unveil a Facebook promotion for the holiday on Jan. 3, Kelly said.

“We encourage retailers to group Asian produce in one area, maybe creating a separate display to inspire their shoppers,” Kelly said.

Retailers and consumers can expect full availability of staple Asian produce items – bok choy, snow peas, napa cabbage, daikon, sugar snap peas and others – said Robert Schueller, director of public relations for Los Angeles-based Melissa’s/World Variety Produce Inc.

“The ones we’re probably going to struggle with, though I can’t predict the weather, are the Chinese eggplants and Chinese long beans. Sometimes in February we run into issues with lemon grass, but that’s fine now. We’re able to fall back onto Mexico supply of leafy greens if California is not supplying at the rate we’d like.”

Courtesy Melissa's/World Variety Produce

A shelf strip is part of Melissa's retail marketing effort for Chinese New Year.Melissa’s provided Chinese New Year shelf strips, danglers and recipe pads to about 650 clients signed up for their Everyday Asian promotion, Schueller said. Store ads were to start immediately after Jan. 1 and run up to Jan. 23.

Tom Tjerandsen, managing director for the San Francisco-based Chilean Fresh Fruit Association, said Chinese New Year is taking a bite out of cherries from Chile.

“China actually grows some very fine cherries, and they’re a good market for the domestic cherry harvest in California and are becoming a good market for the Chilean cherry. There aren’t a lot of fresh fruit options to retailers in early January. Red is a popular color in Asia. In U.S. cities with large Asian populations, we’re seeing cherries included in holiday promotions.”

There are more than 100 fruits and vegetables on the U.S. market associated with the Asian holiday.

They include blood oranges; pummelos; oro blanco; Buddha’s hand, also known as fingered citron; kumquats; fresh water chestnuts; young coconuts; edamame; and many others.

Asian shoppers consume twice as much produce as the average American, according to Melissa’s Everyday Asian promotion materials.

In the U.S., marketers are targeting mainstream consumers as well as Asian Americans, touting culinary diversity with the former.

Jade offers fortune, coupon

For the Chinese New Year, the Jade label will include a fortune and coupon on its packaged, prewashed line of fresh Asian vegetables.

Chinese New Year, the year of the dragon, is Jan. 23. But the fortunes and coupons have already begun shipping and extend through Jan. 31, according to a news release.

Consumers can peel off a red sticker to reveal various fortunes plus one of three coupons: – 55 cents off, $1 off, or buy one, get one free.

Jade greens are grown by Nishimori Family Farms in Southern California year-round and distributed by San Miguel Produce, Inc., Oxnard, Calif.

Jade greens include baby bok choy, baby Shanghai bok choy, gai choy, yu choy, gai lan and dau miu.