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News 28921 to News 28930 of about 29903 news within page 2893
28921. 25/01/2003
KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 23 (Bernama) -- Sateras Resources (M) Bhd Thursday saidthat the company was currently waiting for reply from all partiesconcerning the development of a joint venture agreement (JVA) for the setup of a palm oil refinery in Egypt.It said this in an announcement to the Kuala Lumpur Stock Exchange (KLSE)here Thursday.
28922. 24/01/2003
BRUSSELS, Jan 22 (AFP) - The European Commission Wednesday unveiledrevised plans to reform subsidies to EU farmers, aiming to reconcilefierce disputes over funding the hugely expensive system.The EU executive said farmers had to become more business-like, but deniedit was abandoning them to market forces."Dear farmers, we are not going to abandon you. Nobody is going to abandonyou," Agriculture Commissioner Franz Fischler told a news conference.Rows over reforming the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) have also becomemore heated as the 15-member bloc prepares to expand next year to take in10 mostly rural states.Europe's reluctance to phase out massive subsidies for farmers has alsosparked international criticism that the CAP gives Europe's agriculturalproduce an unfair advantage on world markets."This reform proposal is intended to provide farmers in both existing andfuture member states with the long-term stability they need," Fischlersaid."It is high time that our policy tools should be reformed so as to bestserve the interests not only of farmers, but also of consumers andtaxpayers," he said.The CAP swallows up nearly half the EU's current annual budget of 95billion euros (101.7 billion dollars), and has long been a subject ofbitter dispute.Farmers' champions, such as France, have complained the reform plan wouldharm EU agriculture, while other countries and groups have protested thatthe proposals are nowhere near radical enough.The new plan suggests that the link between farm subsidies and productionlevels should be severed, with funds progressively transferred to bonusesfor farmers for developing their land.The commission's revised proposals notably include a cut in subsidies formilk production and an increase in milk quotas for the planned 25 EUmember states by one percent annually in 2007 and 2008.Fischler however proposed delaying to 2007, from 2004, plans toprogressively reduce direct aid to farmers.But the core element of the reform remains the controversial idea of"decoupling" the link between the level of direct aid to farmers and theirproduction, and the introduction of a single payment independent ofproduction levels.Aides say Fischler hopes that the new CAP reform can be agreed by the endof the current Greek EU presidency in June, in order to be implementednext year.The EU executive was forced to review its initial proposals for CAPreform, presented last July, after EU leaders struck an accord in Octoberaimed at resolving long-running rows.French President Jacques Chirac, whose country is by far the biggestbeneficiary of EU farm aid, reached the deal with Chancellor GerhardSchroeder of Germany, the main EU paymaster.British Prime Minister Tony Blair was reportedly incensed by theFranco-German deal, which effectively put off real CAP reform for severalyears.The October deal did however agree to put an overall ceiling on farm aidfrom 2006, allaying fears of an explosion in the CAP budget after the EU'senlargement next year to countries including heavily agriculturalheavyweight Poland.Fischler said the new proposals would go some way to calming criticismfrom Europe's international partners that CAP subsidies run counter toWorld Trade Organization (WTO) rules."The Commission proposal would strengthen our negotiating handimmeasurably in the Doha Round" of world trade talks, launched in theQatari capital in November 2001 and due to last three years.
28923. 22/01/2003
New Delhi, Jan 19 (PTI) Assocham Sunday asked Government to reduce importduty for crude palm oil to 25 per cent from the current 65 per cent ashigh duty for a product used as a raw material was an anomaly which neededto be corrected."The duty provision of 65 per cent on raw material used by the vansapatiindustry against 30 per cent for the finished imported product was ananomaly and needs to be rationalised," Associated Chamber of Commerce andIndustry (Assocham) said in a statement here.Pointing the customs duty had drastically reduced the industry's capacityof competing with the cheap vanaspati coming from Nepal, it noted domesticindustry had to absorb higher customs duty of 65 per cent while theNepalese manufacturers did not have to pay any duty for the same oil,giving them a cost advantage of Rs 10,000 per tonne.The chamber said Government should also restrict the import of crude palmoil to vanaspati industry against actual user provision to check anymalpractice and asked it to withdraw the permission given to refiners andtraders as they were not equipped to hygienically process and hydrogenateit.Describing the increase in import duty of crude palm oil as a retrogradestep, the Chamber said the annual growth rate of the industry was notkeeping pace with the rise in demand due to increase in population andhigher disposable income with the consumers.
28924. 22/01/2003
KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 21 (Bernama) -- Despite being the 17th largest tradingnation, many Malaysian exporters are yet to fully exploit countertrading,which could increase access to some potential markets in the region.This is due to ignorance of the works of countertrade, lack of knowledgeon how to negotiate contracts or to cover risks, Malaysian External TradeDevelopment Corporation's (MATRADE) chief executive officer Merlyn Kasimirsaid Tuesday.
28925. 21/01/2003
Chito A. Fuentes, PDI Visayas Bureau 01/14/2003TAGBILARAN CITY-While the coconut industry in Bohol faces seriousproblems, it still remains a viable source of livelihood for most of theprovince's farmers.This claim was made in a concept paper prepared by Bali Farms and CropsResearch Center submitted to the provincial government.Bali Farms, a Cagayan de Oro-based research and production institution,and the Bohol-based People's Fair Trade Assistance Center, is proposing aprogram for the "massive, comprehensive and sustained rehabilitation,expansion and development of the coconut industry in Bohol."The center is offering its expertise and resources to serve as one of themain catalysts for the development of the coconut sector.It offers assistance in the introduction of high-yielding andearly-maturing coconut hybrids and "the most modern farm productiontechnologies" in facilitating the development of new products andcoconut-based industries.High-yielding varieties include those certified by the Philippine CoconutAuthority (PCA) that bear flowers and fruits starting on the 18th and 30thmonths after planting.If promoted and distributed, the paper claimed that five years afterplanting, they would be yielding four to six tons of nuts per hectare peryear, "up to six times the present average production," which is half totwo tons per hectare per year.The center said that among the technologies it will promote is theintercropping of fruit trees, annuals (such as bananas), and cash cropswith the coconut trees."This shall maximize the use of the land planted to coconut, while at thesame time provide interim and supplementary income to the farms," thepaper noted.It also offered the propagation of modern coconut farm managementpractices, including organic fertilizer production and usage."This ensures fast growth of palms and trees, while reducing the cost offarm inputs," the paper said.It pointed out that the development of organic coconut sugar productioncould mean a big increase in the income of coconut farmers.The paper noted that coconut sugar, or muscovado, from coconut has a highnutritive value. It is derived from coconut toddy (or the coconut winewithout the dreg).Aside from sugar, the center identified other products that can bedeveloped from coconut, such as virgin oil (a high value product fromcoconut), oleo chemicals (from coconut crude oil) and consumer productslike coco nectar soup, coco sap concentrates (100 percent fruit juicesweetener) and many others.
28926. 21/01/2003
PANTAI REMIS, Jan 20 (Bernama) -- Primary Industries Minister, Datuk SeriDr Lim Keng Yaik, on Monday suggested that the relevant agenciesrestructure the methods used by smallholder to produce rubber, palm oiland cocoa, to boost production and compete in the international market.He said that agencies like the Federal Land Consolidation andRehabilitation Authority (Felcra), Federal Land Development Authority(Felda) and Rubber Industry Smallholders Development Authoritiy (Risda),should conduct a study on how to improve smallholders' production toensure a continuous income for them.
28927. 21/01/2003
The Malaysian oil palm industry assisted by prudent government policies,recorded a significant recovery in 2002 despite a weak global economy. Themarginal increase in the production of palm oil and exports amidst a tightsupply in the global oil and fats industry, had pushed up the price ofcrude palm oil (CPO) sharply by 52% over the previous year to RM1,363.50per tonne. The year ended with a lower palm oil stock level of 1.14million tonnes.
28928. 15/01/2003
KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 14 (Bernama) -- Malaysia's palm oil production isexpected to grow by two to three percent in 2003 when compared with lastyear, Malaysian Palm Oil Association's (MPOA) chief executive, M.RChandran, said Tuesday.The increased output can be attributed to the fact that a lot ofplantation areas in Sabah with young palms would start producing palm oilin a bigger way this year, he explained.In fact, he said Malaysia's palm oil production for 2003 ought to havebeen lower as a result of the on-going replanting programme embarked fromearly last year following low prices for the commodity.He told Bernama after presenting a paper entitled "The Outlook forPlantation Commodities" at the Malaysia Strategic Outlook 2003 Conferencehere Tuesday that Malaysia produced about 11.9 million tonnes of palm oilin 2002, a marginal increase from 11.8 million tonnes registered in 2001.In 2004, Chandran said production was going to be even higher, given thecurrent high price, which would encourage plantations to use morefertilisers."Normally when prices are low, people tend to cut back on fertiliserswhich will effect the yield for one year. So next year, it should be goodbecause a lot of fertilisers have gone in (the palms)."On the price outlook for the current year, Chandran said the average pricefor crude palm oil (CPO) was around an average of RM1,400 per tonne.Currently, CPO prices are hovering around RM1,650-RM1,670 per tonne.On why the average figure was somewhat lower, he said higher production ofsoya beans in Argentina and Brazil expected in March or April this yearcould have an adverse impact on CPO."Higher prices for soya oil towards the end of last year had boostedplanting (of soya beans) and increased availability of soya bean (later)could have an effect on palm oil prices," he said.Unless there was a change in climatic conditions, a good harvest for soyabeans had been anticipated, he said.Moving forward, Chandran said the local palm oil industry should embark onproducing more branded cooking oils or invest in countries like India,China and Europe and go into refining and downstream activites."Or we should go in together with people who are already producing theseproducts with a brand name and get in with them and sell it as a brandname," he said.In the process, consumers would tend to associate the product or palm oilwith the brand and would not be so bothered whether the cooking oil wasproduced from palm oil or soya oil."If I were to mention Cadbury Chocolates, then you might only beinterested in Cadbury Chocolates for you are not so bothered about wherethe cocoa came from. So this is the kind of strategy we need to adopt," hesaid.Chandran said there was a need to restructure the industry verticallywhereby producers would also be associated with milling, refining,producing oleochemicals and other products in the downstream sector.At present, he said only 25 percent of the CPO was refined in refineriesowned by plantation companies while the balance was processed bynon-plantation companies and most of them were foreign-owned.He lauded IOI Corporation Bhd's move to acquire the Netherland-basedLoders from Unilever Group which has downstream activities in fivedifferent countries."This is the way to move forward," said Chandran.He revealed that the Malaysian Palm Oil Board (MPOB) was looking atchanging the structure of palm oil to be like olive oil through the use ofbio-technology.MPOB, he said, was also working on reducing the planting of oil palms inrainforest areas as well as producing "dwarf" oil palms which would beeasier to harvest.But he said these bio-technological efforts could only materialise in12-15 years.Such efforts were crucial over the long term because Indonesia has thecapacity to take over Malaysia as the world's largest palm oil producer,said Chandran."This is because Malaysia is constrained by land. We can plant a maximumof 4.5 million hectares of oil palm but Indonesia has the capacity toplant more than 10 million hectares of oil palms," he said.However, he said Indonesia could only achieve this target if there wastotal co-operation within its industry as it lacked funding and would haveto rely on foreign funds.In terms of quality, he said Indonesian palm oil was as good asMalaysia's, if not better, because Indonesian has an abundance of labourand this played a major role in improving quality.-- BERNAMA
28929. 14/01/2003
KUALA LUMPUR -(Dow Jones)- A group of landowners from east Malaysia'sSabah state are suing Unilever PLC (U.ULV) for a share of the proceedsfrom the sale of its wholly-owned Pamol Group to Malaysian oleochemicalscompany Palmco Holdings Bhd. (P.PAL).The 180.3-million-ringgit ($1=MYR3.80) claim is based on a joint ventureagreement between the landowners and Pamol which the landowners say wouldhave resulted in them owning 30% of Pamol had the venture been finalized.But the suit, filed Dec. 4 in the Johor Bahru Civil High Court after thelandowners said attempts to reach a settlement with Unilever and Pamolfailed, is unlikely to derail Pamol's sale to Palmco."What my clients want is compensation" and not to stop the sale, OswaldMojingol, a lawyer and spokesman for the 2,382 landowners, told Dow JonesNewswires.Pamol declined comment on the case, referring queries to its Unileverparent.A Unilever spokesman said: "This is an extremely complex issue. We areunable to make any comment at this juncture. The whole matter is governedby Malaysian law and we'll be seeking local legal advice on theappropriate next steps."Palmco officials couldn't be reached for comment.Unilever on Dec. 2 signed an agreement to sell its wholly-owned PamolGroup - which comprises 23,045 hectares of oil palm plantations and twopalm-oil mills - to Palmco for MYR567 million.The landowners who filed the claim are from tribes indigenous to Sabah,and are represented as plaintiffs in the suit by six businessmen.According to claim documents reviewed by Dow Jones Newswires, thelandowners were first invited to participate in a joint venture with Pamolaround 1995."Had it (the joint venture) materialized, what would have happened is thatmy clients would have had the 30% (of Pamol)," Mojingol said.Unilever and Pamol declared on June 30, 1999, that the joint-ventureagreement "had lapsed" because certain conditions were not met by April 9,1999, according to the claim documents.One of the terms of the agreement required the landowners to secure atleast 20,000 acres of good-quality land for the joint venture within sixmonths from Jan. 17, 1997. The deadline was later extended to April 9,1999.The landowners didn't meet that second deadline.But in their claim, they allege subsequent events and correspondence withUnilever and Pamol officials indicated the deadline had been extendedfurther.In their claim, the landowners are seeking an injunction to restrainUnilever from disposing of the proceeds of the Pamol sale up to the sum ofMYR180.3 million.That sum comprises MYR43.5 million in special damages for costs incurredin the land acquisition exercise and in professional fees and generaldamages of MYR136.9 million.
28930. 10/01/2003
Gains and Losses from WTO Entry Counted
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