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31231. 01/06/2001
World Agricultural Forum fails to agree on global hunger strategyDate Posted: 5/31/2001Financial Times, London, 31/5/2001 (Financial Times) - Anarchists andenvironmentalists were missing from the World Agricultural Forum in StLouis in the US state of Missouri this week. But even without organisedprotests at the meeting - attended by representatives of agribusinesses,multilateral agencies and developing countries - there was little harmony.While US and European companies hawked technology as the solution toundernourishment in developing countries, international agencies andnational representatives saw a host of more immediate and mundaneproblems. These included inadequate farm size, lack of investment, tradedistortions and subsidies in the industrialised countries.As the United Nation's Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) pointsout, recent international efforts to reduce the numbers of underfedpeople, primarily in developing nations, are falling short of objectives.This is not for want of agricultural production. "If all food produced inthe world were to be divided equally among its inhabitants, every man,woman and child would consume 2,760 calories each day," says JacquesDiouf, the FAO's director-general.Yet even the relatively modest objective, adopted five years ago, ofhalving the number of undernourished people by 2015 - to about 400m - willbe missed if current trends persist. At present, about 8m people a yearare moving from the "hungry" category to that of adequately fed, accordingto Mr Diouf. This is well short of the 20m needed to keep up withpopulation growth.Then there is the prospect of a sharply rising global population in thedecades ahead. Projections vary, but the United Nations thinks the worldpopulation could be 9bn-plus by 2050, compared with 6bn at 2000.That leaves some agricultural economists calculating that demand forcereals could rise by as much as 40 per cent by 2020, and for meat, by 60per cent. Although land under cultivation will probably also rise, it isunlikely to match the population growth rate.Given recent experience, everyone is wary of drawing catastrophicMalthusian conclusions. Over the past two decades, rising agriculturalyields have meant that food production growth has more than matchedpopulation trends, with food prices falling significantly.With the prospect of another round of world trade talks now back on thehorizon after the Seattle debacle, developing countries are pointingvigorously to the distorting implications of food support payments inindustrialised countries.They point out that agricultural subsidies in the developed nations areabout the same as the total GDP of sub-Saharan Africa."In 1999 alone, the total support to agriculture by OECD (industrialised)countries was estimated at Dollars 361.5bn, or 1.4 per cent of their totalGDP. Certainly, this support is in accord with WTO (World TradeOrganisation) agreements, but there is little doubt that it gives acompetitive edge which poorer countries cannot match," said Mr Diouf.At the same time, there is the question of the extent to which developingcountries themselves - and multilateral agencies - have been missingopportunities for structural change or infrastructure investment inagriculture. Pointing to the tens of millions of small-scale farmers inIndonesia, for example, Bungaran Saragih, the country's agricultureminister, acknowledged that the result was inadequate capital to buy farm"inputs" (such as fertiliser) and reduced bargaining power.Even representatives of the World Bank admit the organisation's lending tofarm projects has dwindled to an all-time low (as a percentage of thetotal budget), and that there is a need to foster structural change aspart of the loan programme."We would like to shift our strategy towards (encouraging) efficiency,"said a senior adviser. "Small is not always beautiful in a globalisedagricultural market."Last, there is the thorny issue of technology. St Louis is home toMonsanto, perhaps the company most closely associated with agriculturalbiotechnology, and representatives of other large agribusiness companies -such as Cargill, Bunge, Dow Agrosciences - were out in force. For the mostpart, issues such as genetic engineering were wrapped together with lesscontroversial topics such as yield management systems."Technology will be absolutely essential, but the answer does not lie withone technology, rather a technology toolbox," said Charles Fischer,president of DowAgrosciences, the chemical company's agribusiness arm.Even so, the responses from some developing countries remained cautious.The earlier "green revolution" - which dramatically increased riceproductivity - "has given rise in Asia to the idea that technology is apanacea", noted another Indonesian representative. But, he added: "Sincethe 1990s, we have begun to suffer setbacks - soil degredation, diseases.""We need a very wide range of technologies - and ones that are appropriatein one region may not be appropriate in another," suggested Gerard Viatte,director for food, agriculture and fisheries at the Paris-based OECD. Adiplomatic thought - but one which seems unlikely to resolve the debate.
31232. 31/05/2001
Oilseed Briefs: Global soy trade booms on increased productionHamburg, May 29 (BridgeNews) - Global soybean imports in October2000/September 2001 are now forecast by Hamburg-based newsletter Oil Worldat 49.95 million tonnes, up by 3.8 million tonnes or 8% on the season."This surge in soybean trade is induced by the boost in production--mainlyin South America--plus reduced availabilities of other oilseeds, sharplygrowing demand, mainly for soybean meal but also for soybean oil," itsaid.____________Oil World sees 2001-02 global soybean crop up by 6.6 mln tns.Hamburg, May 29 (BridgeNews) - The global soybean crop in the 2001-02season is likely to reach 177.7 million tonnes, up 6.6 million tonnes onthe season, Hamburg-based newsletter Oil World said in its first seasoncrop estimate. It sees the U.S. 2001-02 soybean crop at 80.30 milliontonnes (previous season: 75.38 million tonnes). Its first forecast ofworld soybean crushings in the 2001-02 season is 152.7 million tonnes, upby an above-average 6.9 million tonnes on the season.
31233. 30/05/2001
San Francisco pumps start dispensing vegetable oil-based fuelSAN FRANCISCO, 5/29/2001 (AP) - The most distinctive thing spewed into theair by biodiesel, a vegetable oil-based fuel, is the smell of frenchfries.And that's what some residents here soon will be smelling, since SanFrancisco has become the nation's first major city with a public biodieselpumping station.The station opened Wednesday, making the alternative fuel available to thepublic. A similar station had opened in Sparks, Nev., on Tuesday.While biodiesel avoids the release of carbon monoxide and the smallparticles released by burning traditional diesel, it doesn't cut down onsmog-causing nitrogen oxide.The fuel is made from either recycled vegetable oil from restaurants, orfrom soybean oil. The San Francisco operation offers fuel that is 100percent biodiesel, but a 20 percent biodiesel-80 percent petroleum dieselis available at other biodiesel facilities.Diesel engines can use the fuel without any modification, and itcontributes to the life of the engine by increasing lubrication so movingparts won't break down as easily, said Robert Skinner, a spokesman forWorld Energy Alternatives, the company providing the biodiesel to the SanFrancisco station.But biodiesel has some drawbacks. It's more expensive than regular diesel,selling for about $3.15 a gallon in San Francisco and for about $1.62 agallon in Sparks. It also causes a slight drop in fuel economy.The fuel is used primarily by fleets of vehicles such as school buses,Skinner said."We've got about 60 large-scale fleets using biodiesel, from the U.S. AirForce to the New Jersey transit system," he said.Berkeley already uses the fuel in its recycling trucks, and it is beingused by the San Francisco International Airport in shuttles. Nationalparks, including Yosemite and Yellowstone, run their vehicles on it, too.Not only is the fuel cleaner burning, it can help federal fleets meet aregulation that says they must reduce their annual petroleum consumptionby 20 percent by 2005.The federal government estimates sales of the fuel reached 6.7 milliongallons in 2000 and could reach 20 million gallons this year.And prices have come down some because of competition, as well as cheapertransportation and a subsidy for soybean biodiesel producers, according tothe U.S. Department of Energy.Biodiesel dates back more than 100 years, and peanut oil actually was thefirst type of fuel used by Rudolf Diesel to power his first engine in1895."As we move into a time when petroleum is not so readily available, we'returning back the clock," Skinner said. "It's a renewable fuel. It closesthe carbon cycle. It's the most effective greenhouse gas reductiontechnology for existing engines."
31234. 29/05/2001
Biodiesel gains alternative fuel status under DOE rule
31235. 29/05/2001
Coconut chemical firms offer compromise on soap productionPhilippines (BusinessWorld) 5/25/2001- Coconut chemical companies arewooing soap manufacturers to agree to an out-of-court settlement that willeffectively lift a restraining order against a law on the mandatory use ofcoco-based surfactants.An official from United Coconut Chemicals, Inc. (Cocochem), the country'sbiggest coco chemical firm, said the industry is offering to support therepeal of Executive Order (EO) 259 in exchange for the withdrawal of thelawsuit filed by soap producers against the EO. The presidential directiverequires soap makers to use coco-based surfactants in making detergent.The company official who works for Cocochem, however, said the industrywould like the directive to remain in effect for a certain period to helpthem to find alternative markets for coco chemicals."Our offer to them (soap companies) is that we will work jointly with themfor the repeal of EO 259 but we want them to give us time, probably threeto five years, to develop our markets," the official told BusinessWorld.Signed by former president Corazon Aquino in 1987, EO 259 requires soapcompanies to manufacture detergents containing 60% coco-based surfactantsand 40% petroleum-based surfactants."We are asking them to continue buying their regular volumes from us untilwe are able to tap new markets," explained the Cocochem official, whosefirm ranks as one of the country's biggest coco chemical manufacturers.The Soap and Detergent Association of the Philippines (SDAP) secured apreliminary injunction against the implementation of EO 259 last December.SDAP members want the EO eventually recalled so they can have theflexibility of using cheaper petroleum-based surfactants.But coco chemical firms are concerned the immediate repeal of thedirective will cause the collapse of their industry and create a localoversupply of coconut oil (CNO). Coco-based surfactants are produced usingCNO.This glut, they said, will further disadvantage coconut farmers who arealready suffering low prices of copra, dried coconut meat from which CNOis extracted.The Cocochem official, however, lamented that soap companies have rejectedtheir proposed compromise accord."We've been talking about it but they're not amenable. Actually, they justwant to buy 20% of their old volumes but we also can't agree to thatbecause it would be tantamount to killing our industry," the source said.The source said industry leaders will continue negotiations until theyforge a mutually acceptable agreement since coco chemical firms arealready hurting from the backlash of the court order.The source said monthly sales of coco-based surfactants have dropped byhalf since the issuance of the restraining order by the Manila RegionalTrial Court in December last year.Coco chemical firms use 150,000 metric tons (MT) of CNO yearly for theproduction of oleochemicals like surfactants.This represents a third of total yearly domestic consumption whichaverages 450,000 MT, said industry group United Coconut Associations ofthe Philippines (UCAP). The other two-thirds of this volume is mainly usedto manufacture cooking oil.Surfactants or surface active agents, the main ingredient of laundrydetergents, remove dirt from clothes.There are three types of surfactants: coco-based surfactants, technicallyknown as coco fatty alcohol sulfates (CFAs); soft petroleum-basedsurfactants or linear alkyl benzene sulfunates (LABs); and hardpetroleum-based surfactants also known as hard alklyl benzenes (HABs).But soap companies can only use soft petroleum surfactants or coco-basedsurfactants since a new law Republic Act 8970 bans HABs because theycannot be broken down by the environment.While both coco-based and soft petroleum surfactants are known to beenvironment-friendly substances, coconut industry players argue that ittakes a longer time for soft surfactants to break down.The UCAP notes that unlike developed countries, the Philippines lackstreatment facilities needed to speed up the breakdown of soft surfactants.The organization adds that the polluted conditions of Philippine riversystems will also prevent the decomposition of such substances due to thelack of oxygen.Former president Aquino signed EO 259 to support coconut farmers andprotect the environment.The Philippines produces 1.2 million MT of coconut oil every year.Of this, 20% or 240,000 MT is used to manufacture cooking oil,oleochemicals and other coco-based products. The other 80% or about960,000 MT is shipped out to the world market.
31236. 25/05/2001
Fuel from recycled cooking oil on sale in NevadaSPARKS, Nevada,USA, 5/24/2001 (AP) _ Biodiesel fuel made from recycledcooking oils at casino hotels and restaurants went on sale in NevadaTuesday, the first public access fueling station in the nation to offerthe biodegradable fuel that reduces emissions.Western Energetix Cardlock, a Reno-based division of Berry-HinkleyIndustries, began offering the fuel at a station in Sparks just south ofInterstate 80. Other fuel stations in California were following suit onWednesday.Biodiesel runs in any diesel engine without the need for any enginealterations, usually as a 20 percent blend with 80 percent petroleumdiesel, the manufacturers say.The Las Vegas-based Biodiesel Industries developed a process to make thebiodiesel fuel from waste cooking oils with the help of grants from theNevada Energy Office and the U.S. Energy Department's Western RegionalBiomass Energy Program.Backers of the yellow fuel say it replaces black sooty exhaust with alighter exhaust that smells like french fries.Both the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Nevada Department ofEnvironmental Protection consider it to be an alternative fuel because itsubstantially reduces carbon emissions."By taking our waste cooking oil and turning it into biodiesel, we are notonly cleaning up the air at a reasonable price, but also creating jobs,"said Jim Brandmueller, outgoing administrator of the Nevada State EnergyOffice.Because biodiesel costs three times as much as regular diesel, addingbiodiesel even in small amounts raises the cost of the fuel by severalcents per gallon. It was selling in Sparks for $1.62 per gallon.Biodiesel actually goes back to Rudolf Diesel's first engine in 1895,which burned peanut oil. Although biodiesel reduces emissions of carbonmonoxide and soot, it slightly increases emissions of smog-causingnitrogen oxide.State and municipal fleets in Las Vegas first evaluated biodiesel in June1999. Interest grew to Northern Nevada with the demonstration of the BioBug, a Volkswagen Beetle in the Nevada Motor Pool that runs on biodiesel."When we showed local fleet managers the Bio Bug and described thebenefits, they all wanted to try it," said Norma McCusker of WesternEnergetix Cardlock based in Reno."Given our large customer base with government and private fleets, wedecided to make it available to everyone at one of our stations," shesaid.Biodiesel Industries now has a plant operating with Haycock Petroleum inLas Vegas and recently entered into a contract to provide 1 milliongallons of biodiesel to the Las Vegas Valley Water District, Clark CountyHealth Department and city of Las Vegas.Russ Teal, president of Biodiesel Industries, said the state's assistancewas key in "getting this project from a dream to reality..."I hope this can show communities all across America that biodiesel can bemade and used almost anywhere," he said.Approximately 20 million gallons of biodiesel are expected to be producednationwide this year, compared with 5 million gallons in 2000, accordingto the National Biodiesel Board.
31237. 25/05/2001
Soy sterol-based vegetable spreads reduce cholesterol riskUSA, 5/24/2001(Soyatech.com) - Government heart disease guidelines aregiving a boost to two new vegetable spreads that contain expensivecholesterol-reducing compounds.Benecol and Take Control spreads can reduce levels of LDL bad cholesterolby about 15 percent in two weeks, according to studies sponsored by themanufacturers.The spreads contain compounds found in plants, called stanols and sterols,that block the absorption of cholesterol into the body.Last week, the National Cholesterol Education Program recommended that 65million Americans go on cholesterol-lowering diets to reduce the risk ofheart disease. The panel recommended that 36 million people also takecholesterol-lowering drugs.In a heart-healthy diet, less than 7 percent of calories should come fromsaturated fat and less than 35 percent from total fat. Each day, dietersshould eat less than 200 milligrams of cholesterol and consume at least 10to 25 grams of fiber.The government also recommends consuming 2 grams of stanols or sterols perday. A one-tablespoon serving of Take Control contains 1.6 grams ofsterols, while a serving of Benecol contains 1.5 grams of stanols.Low levels of stanols and sterols occur naturally in plants. These levelsare greatly boosted in the new spreads-it takes 2,500 tons of soybean oilto produce 1 ton of sterols used in Take Control. (Benecol's stanols comefrom pine trees.)At a Jewel supermarket Saturday, the regular price of Benecol was $11.98per pound, while Take Control cost $5.58 per pound. By comparison, a poundof regular Fleischmann's spread cost just $2.09.Benecol can be used in baking and frying; Take Control cannot. Benecol has80 calories per serving; Take Control, 50. To a reporter doing a tastetest, Benecol and Take Control tasted about the same as Fleischmann's.Benecol and Take Control do not raise HDL good cholesterol, nor reducefats called triglycerides that contribute to heart disease.The spreads have to be eaten every day to remain effective. To avoidgaining weight, a consumer should eat Benecol and Take Control in placeof, not in addition to, other fats, said dietitian Laurie Maimonis ofNorthwestern Memorial Hospital's Wellness Institute.Benecol and Take Control flush out beneficial food chemicals calledcarotinoids, said Bruce Silverglade of the Center for Science in thePublic Interest, a consumer group. In Europe, the spreads aren'trecommended for children and pregnant women, he said."When we combine the medicine chest with the refrigerator, consumers willhave to exercise extra caution," Silverglade said.
31238. 25/05/2001
Thai palm oil diesel blend set for January salesThe Nation (Thailand) via NewsEdge Corporation, 5/24/2001(Soyatech) :Blend set to go on sale by January 2002, join in success of coconut-oilmix being sold in South Using a formula developed by His Majesty the King,the Petroleum Authority of Thailand (PTT) plans to introduce a blend ofpalm oil and diesel fuel early next year.PTT's biodiesel follows the success of a coconut oil and diesel blendproduced by a farmer's cooperative in the Southern provinces.The state-owned petroleum firm expects its blend would enjoy a tax breakthat would make the fuel an affordable alternative that could helpThailand reduce its reliance on imported diesel fuel.Sawaeng Boonyasuwat, head of PTT's research and technology institute, saidthe state firm's move to produce a biodiesel would further strengthen thepublic's confidence in the quality of blended fuels.The biodiesel blend using coconut oil is being used in Southern provinces,but there is no evidence that the mixture causes engine damage, Sawaengsaid.PTT would spend about one month to determine the appropriate ratio for theblend.Studies now focus on using more than 20-per-cent palm oil with the diesel.Under a project assigned by His Majesty the King, PTT developed biodieselwith a mixture of 10 per cent palm oil and found it to be suitable forunmodified diesel engines in agricultural applications. product would beBt0.70 a litre cheaper than pure diesel, which sells for about Bt 14.5 alitre, Sawaeng said."Once the study is finished, we will propose to the government to ask forsupporting measures, including tax privileges. After that, another sixmonths would be required for adjusting the formula and production which islikely to be conducted at the Thai Oil refinery," he said.Thai Oil, majority-owned by PTT, is a refining arm of the national oilfirm.Its facility, located in Chonburi, now blends gasohol, a plant-extractfuel comprised of 90 per cent gasoline and 10 per cent of alcohol.The launch of PTT biodiesel is targeted for January 2002 in accordancewith PTT's schedule to offer gasohol at another 100 service stationsnationwide.Right now, only one PTT gasohol station is in operation at itsheadquarters on Vipavadee Rangsit Road in Bangkok."Gasohol demand is rising with the current sales of 3,000 litres a day,"Sawaeng said.The production volume of biodiesel has not yet finalised, as it wouldlargely depend on price of agricultural produce.Demand for the coconut-diesel blend in Prachuap Khiri Khan province causedfarmers to raise prices for coconut oil, sending biodiesel prices from Bt6a litre to between Bt10 and Bt11.The jump in production costs forced two biodiesel stations to be closeddown last week.
31239. 24/05/2001
First pure biodiesel pumps open in CaliforniaSAN FRANCISCO, 5/23/2001(soyatech.com) – As the nation confronts an energycrisis brought on in part by U.S. dependence on foreign petroleum, afueling station in San Francisco is giving motorists the chance to buy adomestically produced alternative to diesel fuel at a public pump.Olympian Inc. (www.oly.com) has partnered with World Energy Alternatives(www.worldenergy.net) and CytoCulture (www.cytoculture.com) to open thenation’s first publicly accessible fueling station to offer purebiodiesel.Biodiesel is a cleaner-burning alternative fuel made from renewable fatsor oils, such as soybean oil, and can be burned in any diesel vehicle withlittle or no modification to the engine. Biodiesel and biodiesel blendshave been proven successful in more than 40 million road miles, and morethan 80 major fleets nationwide currently use the fuel commercially. Mostfleets using biodiesel are government fleets, transit agencies, nationalparks or school bus fleets – all of which have their own private fuelingstations. This is the first time that pure biodiesel (B100) will beavailable at a public fueling station."This is a significant step for the industry," said Joe Jobe, executivedirector of the National Biodiesel Board. "Although biodiesel is availablenationwide and anyone can buy it from a fuel distributor, having it at apublic pump simplifies the process for private citizens. There istremendous interest in biodiesel out there among environmentallyconscientious people, and we anticipate the fueling station will do a lotof business."At 10:30 a.m. on Wednesday May 23rd, a ribbon-cutting ceremony will takeplace at 2690 3rd Street in San Francisco. To underscore the event, SanFrancisco Supervisor Gavin Newsome and Peter Ward of the CaliforniaTransportation Office will speak about how biodiesel and other renewablefuels will benefit the City of San Francisco and the State of California.Bluewater Network Executive Director Russell Long will also speak abouthow renewable fuels like biodiesel are a practical and immediate way tocombat global warming and other environmental concerns. Bluewater Networkis a member of the Biodiesel Alliance, which is made up of environmentaland scientific groups supporting the use of biodiesel. To promoteawareness for the fuel’s operational qualities, Bluewater Network staffwearing mechanic's coveralls will pump free biodiesel, up to five gallonsper vehicle, from 10:15 AM to 11:00 AM.A similar fueling station opened today in Sparks, Nevada outside Reno.That station offers B20 at the pump rather than B100.The fuel performs similarly to petroleum diesel, but is non-toxic,biodegradable and free of sulfur. Biodiesel is a registered fuel with theEnvironmental Protection Agency (EPA), and its use significantly reducesharmful emissions. On average, the use of biodiesel cuts carbon monoxideby 44%, unburned hydrocarbons by 68% and particulate matter by 40%compared to petroleum-based diesel. Biodiesel reduces air toxics by up to90 percent. In some engines, nitrous oxide emissions are increasedslightly, but still within EPA regulations. Biodiesel contains nopetroleum, but it can be blended with diesel at any level or used in itspure form.Biodiesel is the only alternative fuel to have completed the HealthEffects testing requirements of the Clean Air Act amendments of 1990. TheDepartment of Energy (DOE) estimates the cancer-causing potential ofbiodiesel exhaust is at least 80 percent less than that of petroleumdiesel. Additionally, DOE lifecycle analysis shows a 78 percent reductionin CO2, the primary greenhouse gas attributed to global warming.Readers can learn more about biodiesel by visitinghttp://www.biodiesel.org. The National Biodiesel Board is funded in partby the United Soybean Board and state soybean board checkoff programs.
31240. 24/05/2001
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