Fertilizer Markets and Finance

On this blog I publish posts & news about what's new in the fertilizer industry and how it's markets are affected by geopolitical developments, environmental changes and monetary policies. I also focus on how farmers are affected by government decisions, and economic fundamentals of the market place. I am passionate about agriculture in Trinidad and write about problems farmers face in the agriculture industry especially in rural areas. Thanks for viewing.

Jonathan Mohan


Some of my highlighted work -
The destruction of Trinidad and Tobagos’ local banana market.
http://tinyurl.com/pne2lwv

The geopolitics and economic stratagem of Uralkali’s bombshell will change the global potash oligopoly.
http://tinyurl.com/l57nco8
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Posts tagged "disease"

Makori reports on the African livestock with lumpy skin disease.

A killer virus blighting sheep and cows is likely to be here for another year and is spreading at an alarming rate, experts warned yesterday.

Schmallenberg virus has already been detected at 83 farms in England, killing thousands of newborn lambs or causing them to be born with serious deformities.

Yesterday experts said it was likely to be made worse by the warm weather and could spread across the whole country, putting another breeding season at risk.

Professor Peter Mertens, of the Institute of Animal Health at  Pirbright in Surrey, said the spread was much faster than the bluetongue virus which hit Britain in 2007 causing devastation.

Both are spread by biting midges, but bluetongue affected fewer animals and remained in the south east for several months before spreading nationwide.

Read more at Mail Online

Setbacks from the axing of fuel subsidies to “significantly less favourable” weather to “ravaging” by caterpillars are hampering cocoa producers, leaving the world facing a return to an output deficit.

The International Cocoa Organization, in its first forecast for 2011-12 cocoa supplies, forecast a shortfall of 71,000 tonnes, the fourth deficit in six seasons.

Demand for the bean, as measured by grindings, will rise 2.0% to 3.99m tonnes - led by 10% jump in Africa, reflecting political stability in Ivory Coast, the top cocoa producing country, where volumes last year were depressed by civil war.

However, production will fall 8.0% from last season’s record high back below 4m tonnes, after a deterioration in West African weather from the near-ideal conditions seen in 2010-11.

"Production is expected to drop substantially in Africa, down by 384,000 tonnes to 2.84m tonnes, as weather conditions were more typical of the season and significantly less favourable than last year’s."

Read more at Agrimoney

A new animal disease that causes birth defects and miscarriages in livestock has now been found on 74 farms in England.

The Schmallenberg virus emerged in the Netherlands and Germany last year, causing mild to moderate symptoms in adult cattle, including reduced milk yield and diarrhoea, and late abortions and birth deformities in sheep, goats and cattle.

It is thought the virus is spread by midges, and has crossed the Channel from the Continent. Five of the positive cases have been diagnosed in cattle and 69 in sheep. So far, none of the affected farms have reported importing animals from the affected areas in mainland Europe.

Read more at The Independent

A mysterious epidemic is devastating the Pacific coast of Central America, killing more than 24,000 people in El Salvador and Nicaragua since 2000 and striking thousands of others with chronic kidney disease at rates unseen virtually anywhere else. Scientists say they have received reports of the phenomenon as far north as southern Mexico and as far south as Panama.

Last year it reached the point where El Salvador’s health minister, Dr. Maria Isabel Rodriguez, appealed for international help, saying the epidemic was undermining health systems.

Wilfredo Ordonez, who has harvested corn, sesame and rice for more than 30 years in the Bajo Lempa region of El Salvador, was hit by the chronic disease when he was 38. Ten years later, he depends on dialysis treatments he administers to himself four times a day.

"This is a disease that comes with no warning, and when they find it, it’s too late," Ordonez said as he lay on a hammock on his porch.

Many of the victims were manual laborers or worked in sugar cane fields that cover much of the coastal lowlands. Patients, local doctors and activists say they believe the culprit lurks among the agricultural chemicals workers have used for years with virtually none of the protections required in more developed countries. But a growing body of evidence supports a more complicated and counterintuitive hypothesis.

The roots of the epidemic, scientists say, appear to lie in the grueling nature of the work performed by its victims, including construction workers, miners and others who labor hour after hour without enough water in blazing temperatures, pushing their bodies through repeated bouts of extreme dehydration and heat stress for years on end. Many start as young as 10. The punishing routine appears to be a key part of some previously unknown trigger of chronic kidney disease, which is normally caused by diabetes and high-blood pressure, maladies absent in most of the patients in Central America.

Read more at The Huffington Post

Ghana, the world’s second-biggest cocoa producer, started its campaign to spray chemicals against diseases and pests that hinder output amid hopes for a harvest that may reach a second straight record.

The Ghana Cocoa Board will send a second batch of pesticide and fungicide to farmers this month, after a first round that began in August, said Tony Fofie, chief executive officer of the board.

“We started in the first week of August to protect our crops from black pod and other diseases because our world is hot and humid,” he said in an interview in Accra, the capital, yesterday.

The annual program by the board, known as Cocobod, to provide spray to farmers in the West African nation helped boost 2010-11 output to a record of more than 1 million metric tons by Aug. 18. Good weather, fertilizer use and higher prices for farmers also helped the harvest reach a target that was initially forecast for the 2012-13 season. Black pod rot is a fungus that occurs in times of heavy rain and little sunshine.

Ghana, which neighbors the world’s biggest cocoa producer Ivory Coast, is aiming for output in the next season of between 1.1 million tons and 1.2 million tons, Kwabena Asante-Poku, deputy chief executive officer of the board, said Aug. 26. The harvest is likely to start in October.

Cocoa futures for December delivery gained 0.6 percent, or 11 pounds ($17.82), to 1,956 pounds by 10:17 a.m. on the NYSE Liffe market in London.

Sclerotinia, Blackleg, Anthracnose, Fusarium head blight - if these scary-sounding diseases aren’t already here, they’re on their way.

And while they may not attack and destroy humans, they do pose a serious threat to key crops grown in Saskatchewan.