Featured Topic: Agriculture

Pest storms are devastating rice production in Singapore, which is no good for anyone since this grain is a staple throughout Asia.  This is becoming a threat to the country’s food security and could completely destroy rice farms throughout the region, according to Singapore scientists.  Indeed, there is talk that the pesticides used to counter this problem may be doing the opposite – making it worse.  The problem has partly been caused by trying to go cheap:  use of less expensive pesticides; poor farmer education and destruction of ecosystems around paddies, to name but a few.

Historically this wouldn’t have been the case.  Farmers took immense pride in their plots and ensured their produce was protected.  King George VI would have been ashamed at his Asian brethren and might not have so readily agreed to having his face emblazoned on a set of Singapore stamps issued in 1948.

 

 

 

 

Although it seems like inflation is sky-rocketing in China due to its escalating consumer price index, according to chairman of the leading food enterprise COFCO Ning Gaoning, grain prices will be stabilized because of the country’s “substantial reserves.”  While corn will probably drop, rice and wheat – two of the country’s major grains – will remain in high supply this year.  Indeed last year the country’s grain output increased nearly 3 percent with its rice inventory-to-consumption ratio being around 18 percent higher than anywhere in the world.  

Ning claimed that the escalation in world food prices was due to “global demands and extreme weather in major grain producing areas” along with general inflation and speculation.  He dismissed the claim that the price of agricultural products were behind global inflation since the recent peaks in farm produces occurred way later than those of other industrial products.  Ning also  predicted a high inflation in the next second months with a weakening from July to the end of 2011 but claimed that expectations were weaker this month because of various governmental measures to ensure market supply.  

As well, Ning noted how China still potentially has the capacit to increase the amount of grain it produces due to better rural infrastructure, and more low-yield farmland productivity.  Farmers are being encouraged to increase production and the government has invested significant funds in rural water conservation and farm irrigation projects.

 

Agricultural Bank of China Governor Zhang Yun:

The Agricultural Bank of China will participate in the strategic placement of investors in their respective areas of expertise to lead at their technological level and rich management expertise. I believe these investors that join the Bank will help promote sound corporate governance, improve internal control standards , improve existing products , technologies, and improve staff quality.  This will help our world-class banks to move , and ultimately enhance our value .