Romania – The European Commission approved aid scheme for diesel used in agriculture

Date: May 29th 2010 European Commission announced the Romanian Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development the decision on state aid for applying a rate of excise duty of eur 21 per 1000 litres for diesel used in agriculture. After analyzing GD no. 408/2010 approving State aid granted for diesel used in agriculture, the Commission made no objection and decided that an agreed scheme is compatible with the internal market. However, in its assessment, the Commission found that the legislative act complies with "Community guidelines on state aid in the agriculture and forestry 2007-2013’ and that reducing the duty established by legislative act is intended to help facilitate the development of certain activities or regions economic, without trading conditions to an extent contrary to the common interest. Following the opinion, GD no 408/2010 shall enter into force from Thursday, May 27th 2010. Agricultural diesel users, potential beneficiaries of the scheme should apply, at each supply with diesel sales tax documents (invoices) issued by providers...
Read More

Land may become top asset class – beating shares

LAND may become the world's biggest asset class, and listed farm operators win an upward rerating, Hardman & Co has said in a report identifying agriculture services groups as the next focus of sector investment. Farmland prices have, in doubling in the UK and US over the last decade, made shares look "an embarrassingly inept bet", the London broker said. Stocks have fallen by 10-20% during the same period. And the outperformance looks set to continue, driven by rising food prices and demand from investment funds. Population pressure Farmland, whose $5,000bn value equates to about 7-10% of the value of world equity markets, could be worth 15-25% of share values by 2020. "By 2050, it is possible to argue that food producing land might have a superior value to all other asset classes," Hardman analyst Doug Hawkins said, noting forecasts of rising global populations. "This land is feeding over 6bn people and is being pressed into feed a further 3bn by 2050." The broker noted the...
Read More

Romanian irrigation rehabilitation and Reform project

Romania Irrigation Rehabilitation and Reform Project, launched in 2003, aims to achieve more economic and equitable use of irrigation water for agricultural production through changes in farmers' and related institutions’ behavior, while increasing agricultural productivity in the project area.  Project benefits include increased agricultural production and higher incomes for farmers because of improved irrigation services; increased social cohesion through community-based management of irrigation systems; and reduced agriculture related pollution through improved environmental management and reduction of seepage losses.  The rehabilitation of the main schemes would directly benefit approximately 40,000 farming families and workers in agricultural associations. Published March 2010. 8 minutes video-documentary link here: http://lnweb90.worldbank.org/ecaim/multimedialib.nsf/country/Romania?opendocument&did=8E201A17B1A903A8852576F6004D2EAF ...
Read More

Vertical Farms (PHOTOS): The Future Of Sustainable Farming?

Author:  Gazelle Emami Via: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/03/16/vertical-farms-photos-the_n_499924.html#slide_image The idea for vertical farming was born in 1999 in a Columbia University classroom when Dickson Despommier, a professor of environmental sciences and microbology, offhandedly mentioned the idea to his students. Inspired by the idea, Despommier and his class made the first outline of a vertical farm in 2001, and created the website verticalfarm.com to chronicle their research. The benefits of vertical farming are, according to Despommier, manifold. First of all, it would protect crops from weather-related failures due to floods, droughts and pests. Secondly, it would help fight climate change. How so? Despommier argues that a major reason our climate is changing is because of the depletion of forests, that are often cleared out for crops. If forests were able to regrow where crops now exist, it would lessen carbon dioxide emissions. One of the largest motivators for vertical farms is overpopulation. According to New...
Read More

Official presentation of CEPW – European Center for Premium Winter Wheat

On February 23, 2010 was held in Constanta, Romania official presentation of the European Center for Premium Winter Wheat. Along with famous actors of Constanta regional market, Mr. Mihai Berca, Professor and PhD and Mr. Ernst Grosslerher have brought to the attention of all those present some details on Premium varieties and modern farming techniques. Premium wheat varieties are grown in countries that stretch along the Danube and beyond, as it can be seen in the map above. A noteworthy detail is that Probstdorfer varieties are varieties developed in the Pannonian Plain in conditions similar to those in Romania. They hold in their genomes over 80% genoplasma Bezostoia, variety which was inexplicably abandoned in Romania. Mr. Grosslerher has mentioned that Romania presents a huge agricultural potential, only if we judge in light of the fact that his home country, Austria, where drought conditions are much harsher than those in Romania, productions...
Read More

Peak phosphorous: mankind’s latest threat

Author: MATT CAWOOD Source: http://fw.farmonline.com.au SOME believe that dwindling supplies of potable water is humanity's great resource challenge; others think it is the imminent prospect of "peak oil". But an equally important milestone in modern history will be an inevitable tightening of global supplies of phosphorus. Phosphorus has underpinned the leaps made in agricultural productivity since World War II, and the world's economies and population levels have become dependent on a continous supply of the element. Unlike nitrogen, which can by synthesised from the air, or the use of renewable energy to substitute for fossil fuels, there is no substitute for phosphorus. All the world's phosphate fertilisers come from mined phosphate rock, making it a finite resource. Various analyses suggest "peak phosphorus" - the point at which supply falls behind demand - will occur around 2040, with all currently known reserves potentially exhausted within 50 to 100 years. However, University of Technology Sydney researchers Dana Cordell and Stuart White warn that for most countries, a phosphorus squeeze...
Read More

Information the key to grains success in 2010

Author: Gregor Heard Source: http://fw.farmonline.com.au WITH a deregulated grains market, farmers are increasingly realising the vital importance of sound market intelligence when making marketing decisions. If the first year of deregulation was the year of on-farm storage, the 2009 season saw a huge increase in the number of brokers and analysts providing that crucial information to growers. The trend is only likely to increase, as farmers seek to find a marketing edge by assessing the micro and macro trends emerging within the market. From supply and demand balance sheets within key domestic use regions of Australia, to a snapshot of the international situation, many farmers have decided it is worth the price of hiring an expert in these areas. Contacts are also crucial, and middlemen, linking up producers with reliable domestic end-use customers, are also regarded as being worth their cut. The other major growth area in 2009 was specialised marketing products, from Elders Toepfer’s on-farm storage accreditation program, to GrainCorp’s initiative to link warehoused grain with...
Read More

Time to address food security issue

Author: COLIN BETTLES, Farmonline.com FOR the first time in the history of our planet, one billion people are starving and another two million are undernourished. The starvation and malnourishment is occurring at horrific levels in third world Africa, while Asia is also suffering greatly from the lack of basic life elements. The advancement and enrichment of modern agricultural production techniques offers sustainable solutions to these problems. The practical knowledge and know-how needed to stimulate agricultural output in the areas at greatest risk, is immediately ascertainable from a number of willing sources. The World Bank estimates it will cost about $10 billion per year to make a significant dent in the problem. Governments around the world, including ours in Australia, have made repeated public commitments to increase foreign aid and assistance programs to help achieve these critical goals. Between them, these Governments can afford to kick in the $10b now. However, for reasons known only to those in charge, political inertia continues to entangle the solution, while the starvation...
Read More

Biotech crops improving sustainability: US study

Author: JACQUI FATKA IN light of ongoing debates on global food security, agricultural sustainability and climate change, it is important to recognise the benefits biotechnology brings to world agricultural production. According to several research summaries released by PG Economics, those impacts are significant. Biotech crops have contributed to significantly reducing the release of greenhouse gas emissions from agricultural practices. In 2007, this was equivalent to removing 14.2 billion kilograms of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere or removing nearly 6.3 million cars from the road for one year. The greenhouse gas emission reductions are derived from two principle sources: reduced fuel use from less-frequent herbicide or insecticide applications and reduced energy usage in soil cultivation from the use of no-till and reduced-till farming systems. From 1996 to 2007, pesticide spraying was reduced by 359 million kilograms, which is equivalent to 125 per cent of the annual volume of pesticide active ingredient applied to arable crops in the European Union. The fuel savings associated with making fewer spray runs...
Read More