Monday, December 24, 2007

Weekly Cashews Report

Dec 22, 2007

Market has been quiet in the last two weeks – not much trading from India with USA & Europe but steady business with other markets. Prices have come down few cents from the peaks of November. Levels traded W240 around 2.95, W320 around 2.60, W450 around 2.50 FOB

USA & Europe are showing interest at the lower levels – Indian packers are not keen to sell at these levels but there are reports of some sales from Vietnam for Apr forwards..

No fresh news from Brazil – jury is still out on the size of the crop… if it is as small as some people say, availability from Brazil in 2008 will be much lower than last few years

Rawcashew prices are steady – Tanzania around 1050-1075, Mozambique around 850 C&F. It seems availability from these two origins will be more or less the same as last year but prices are substantially higher & with increased processing costs, the parity is higher than current kernel prices

Going into 2008, the cashew market is at a crossroad. If the NEED of USA & Europe buyers to cover in Jan/Feb is high (like it was in Nov) then prices will move up again and timing will be very wrong. RCN prices in second quarter – when over 70% of the world crop is traded – will be high. If processors are forced to buy RCN at high prices, it will set the floor for kernel prices for Apr/May forwards - it will be interesting to see what impact it will have on buying for second half of the year. On the other hand, if buyers do not NEED to buy too much in the first quarter, prices will remain in a reasonable range and there may not be much movement

First few weeks of 2008 are going to be unusually crucial & critical – volume of activity in this period will have great impact on price (and demand) trend and consequently the fortunes of the cashew sector for rest of the year

Would appreciate your comments on market situation, consumption trends, forecast of demand and market trend.... and any other info / news

Regards
Pankaj N. Sampat
Mumbai India

Israel seeks US help to fight Iranian pistachios

Posted Thu Nov 22, 2007 11:50am AEDT

A US official says Israel has asked for US help in cracking down on illegal pistachio nut imports from Iran, after Washington warned the trade was hurting efforts to curb Tehran's nuclear programme.

Israel imports pistachios worth 100 million shekels ($29.8 million) annually, mostly from Turkey.

But Washington says nuts from arch-foe Iran are mixed in with the shipments, undermining economic sanctions meant to force Tehran to stop developing its nuclear capabilities.

US Under Secretary of Agriculture Mark Keenum urged Israeli Agriculture Minister Shalom Simhon this week to combat the problem. Mr Simhon agreed, but asked for guidance on how Israel might proceed.

"Israel doesn't have to be urged too much to do something that will deny Iran trade dollars," said Zvi Alon, an official in Israel's Agriculture Ministry.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Is She A Nut ? Please Comment

Please Comment and tell me What you think ? the funniest comment gets 5 free pound of pistachio nuts

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

India, Brazil, Vietnam launch cashew alliance
newsIndia, Brazil and Vietnam, the three main cashew producers, have formed a global alliance for cashew with a view to protecting their interests, union minister of state for commerce Jairam Ramesh said. The grouping would have its headquarters in India and the government is debating the feasibility of locating it at Kochi, Kollam, Bangalore or Mumbai amidst pressures for locating it at Kollam, the minister said at a press meet.Unlike the OPEC, the minister said, the cashew alliance would work as a lose confederation of three major cashew producers of the world, aiming to ensure that interests of the three countries do not get hurt. India, which produces and imports half a million tonnes of cashew annually, is the world's largest cashew producer, importer, processor and consumer. The alliance will ensure that high productivity in a country will not have destabilising effect in the other two countries, he said. The concept was ready and the three countries have agreed for such an alliance. In the next six months, a decision in this regard is likely to be taken, he said. On the proposal for setting up a cashew board, the minister said the Indian Institute of Foreign Trade had been asked to carry out a study on the best way to organise the cashew industry in India.A global alliance for promotion of cashew had already come into force with two of the three major cashew producing and exporting countries as India and Vietnam and signing an agreement in this regard in January. Besides ensuring price stability, Brazil, India and Vietnam will work jointly and through their governments to induce international organisations like FAO, UNIDO and other similar agencies to focus on cashews with the objective of increasing consumption of cashews in all countries as a food of importance.These countries intend to work towards promotion of cashews in new and expanding areas of indirect consumption such as chocolate, confectionery and bakery products, and as food ingredients. Apart from promoting the commodity, these countries want to work in a spirit of cooperation for research and development, primarily for studies in nutritional and health benefits and product development.The alliance also plans to enlist the support of the International Nuts and Dried Fruits Council, which is specialised in the promotion of treenuts and dried fruits.The three countries would also regularly exchange information on crop prospects; production, import and export figures; reliable market information; and government policies affecting the industry. Source: domain-b.com

UNNATI GANDHI
From Friday's Globe and Mail
December 7, 2007 at 4:52 AM EST
A cocktail of poor weather conditions, health-conscious consumers and the generous use of cranberries in everything from trail mixes to lotions has led to an industry-wide shortage of the tart red fruit this year, production and retail officials say.
And the timing couldn't have been worse, with the annual cranberry binge set to begin with the holiday season.
Blake Johnston, president of Canada's largest cranberry packing company, Bezanson & Chase of Aylesford, N.S., said he has produced 50 per cent fewer cranberries this season than expected.
"I'm short two million pounds of fresh cranberries, and that shortage started in September and continued through the season. And I've already gone through about two million pounds this year," he said in a telephone interview from Wisconsin. "I'm out here right now looking for cranberries, and there are none." Shortages tend to mean price hikes on dwindling inventories.
Prices have gone up by as much as 20 per cent in some markets this year, according to Jean-Fran├žois Bieler of Atoka Cranberries in Manseau, Que.
According to data from the Cranberry Marketing Company, a U.S. industry group, the wholesale price of cranberry-juice concentrate charged by processors to juice makers and other distributors increased to $65 (U.S.) a gallon last month from $45 in August.
Mr. Bieler is one of those dried cranberry and juice concentrate processors. His company operates the largest single-site cranberry farm in the world, and exports 90 per cent of its inventory.
Mr. Bieler said that with a 15-per-cent decline in supply industry-wide since last year, and at least a 7-per-cent increase in demand, price increases this season are going to be "pretty impressive," going well beyond the average $2.99 per 12 oz. package.
In Canada, where cranberries are typically grown in Atlantic Canada and Ontario's Muskoka region, cooler and drier than normal summers in Quebec and New Brunswick this year have led to a 30-per-cent crop decline, he said.
"All I can suggest is if you see fresh cranberries in the supermarket, buy them now and put them in the freezer," Mr. Bieler said.
Tammy Smitham, spokeswoman for A&P, said there was a shortage in supplies after the U.S. Thanksgiving, but the chain is hopeful that it will have enough to last through to Christmas.
"But there won't be any especially hot advertising or promotion on it because we want to be able to ensure that we can meet demand right through," she said.
What's driving the increase in demand, which has steadily risen by 20 per cent each of the past five years in Canada and the United States, Mr. Bieler said, is the use of cranberries in everything "healthy," including cereals, granola bars and snacks.
"Whereas before it used to be just around the holidays, it's almost a staple food now. There's less and less seasonality with cranberries now."
Much of that is attributed to the marketing efforts of industry leader Ocean Spray Cranberries Inc., which has been promoting the health benefits of the fruit for several years. Included in that is research that has shown cranberry juice may prevent urinary tract infections. Several studies have found that that the fruit also has high levels of antioxidants.
"We've had wild increase in demand for our products over the past year or two ... definitely in the double digits internationally and domestically," Ocean Spray spokesman Chris Phillips said.


Marc Stevens

Monday, December 10, 2007

Weekly Cashews Update Dec 8, 2007

After a month of continuous rise, cashew market is taking a breather and prices dipped a bit – levels traded at the end of this week W240 around 3.00, W320 around 2.65, W450 around 2.50 FOB. There was limited activity – most of it from small & medium packers in India except for the broken grades where Vietnam was more active due to their lower prices.

Brazil continues to be quiet – in the next few weeks, there should be some selling interest from there unless the crop is very very bad. If crop is around 275,000mt as many people expect, they will have a reasonable quantity to sell for FH 2008 shipment as they do not seem to have sold much so far.

Indonesia & East Africa RCN prices did come down a bit this week following quiet kernel market but they are still at disparity considering that outturns are lower and forward kernel sales are not easy.. Processors are buying against earlier sales which were at much lower levels and they will only buy as much as they absolutely need to, unless prices ease further

If nearby short positions are covered, kernel buyers might decide to limit their buying over the next few weeks to cover gaps.. This will bring some sanity to the market but if the demand after holidays is anything like what we saw in Nov, prices may go up again in Jan/Feb.. This will mean higher RCN prices in India, Vietnam, West Africa and consequently keep kernel prices high throughout 2008

Regards
Pankaj N. Sampat

Wednesday, November 21, 2007


US asks Israel to stop importing pistachio from Iran
Washington displeased with nuts smuggled to Turkey from Tehran and imported to Jewish state
Itamar Eichner
Published:


US Undersecretary of Agriculture Mark Keenum demanded Monday that the Israeli import from Turkey of pistachio nuts originating in Iran be halted immediately, Yedioth Ahronoth has learned.
The US undersecretary met with Israeli Agriculture Minister Shalom Simhon in Rome during a conference organized by the International Food and Agricultural Organization.

Bill:
'No economic ties between Israel, Iran' / Tzvi Lavi
Opposition Chairman Netanyahu presents Knesset with legislative initiative prohibiting Israeli institutional bodies from investing in companies that have business ties with Iran
Full story
The Israeli embassy in Italy reported to the Foreign Ministry in Jerusalem that the Americans are working to stop the export of Iranian pistachio nuts as part of the economic sanctions imposed on the Islamic republic.
Keenum told Simhon that it was absurd that Israel was purchasing most of its pistachio nuts from an enemy state. According to the undersecretary, Washington was extremely troubled by this, as US pistachio growers have protested the fact that America's friend favors Iranian pistachio nuts over American ones.
Simhon, who was surprised by the information, promised to act immediately to halt the import of the forbidden pistachio nuts. "Israel is not interested in helping Iran's economy," he said.



Iran is the world's biggest exporter of pistachio nuts, while Israel is the world's biggest importer of pistachio.
"We all know what the Israelis like to do on Friday night in front of their television sets," said Zvi Alon, senior deputy-director general (foreign trade) of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development. "The Israelis just love their pistachio nuts."

Monday, November 19, 2007

Weekly cashews Update
Nov 17, 2007

The climb continues… during this week, price for benchmark W320 grade moved up more than 4% - 10 cents a lb. Other grades also moved up by around 5 cents. Business was done from India & Vietnam for W240 around 2.90, W320 around 2.55, W450 around 2.40 FOB. There are reports of sales few cents higher as well. USA was the most active buyer but other markets also participated to some extent

Brazil is still not offering any significant quantities – in addition to the effects of the strong Real, processors are probably concerned about size of the crop following the delay in arrivals in the main growing areas

Cashew Board of Tanzania announced daily auctions in different areas but like the procurement policy, the auction rules also are unworkable. Due to the limited availability of RCN, prices for the only available origin – Indonesia – have gone up to a level that is unworkable even at the increased kernel prices

One significant factor of the last three weeks has been that although market has gone up 10%, the volume traded has been small. We can see two reasons for this limited volume (1) most processors have adequate sales for next few months and in a sharply rising market, they are reluctant to sell large quantities – more so, due to uncertainty of RCN pricing and weak USD (2) although there has been some buying by roasters, most of the buying has been short covering by importers who were waiting for Brazil & Tanzania crops to cover Oct-Mar requirements but are now forced to chase limited quantities. Delays from some suppliers in India & Vietnam have added to the quantities they need to buy. But, they are buying only what they absolutely need to fulfill delivery commitments

Buyers are not willing to buy any large quantities for forwards at higher levels as they are not sure these levels can be sustained when Northern Hemisphere crops start in March.. Although there is a temporary squeeze in supplies there is no significant change in overall availability.. Current price rise seems to be combination of this temporary squeeze + precautionary buying + shipment delays

As we said in our previous reports, if the market strength continues in the first quarter of 2008 it will lead to higher RCN prices in second quarter which will mean that processors will have to sell in 2008 at prices substantially higher than what we have been used to in the last couple of years

The weak USD will certainly soften the blow for the roasters & retailers in non-US markets (in some cases there will be hardly any change in price) but the adverse impact on rawmaterial & processing costs in origins is quite significant

In any commodity, a sudden change in prices – up or down – has more adverse & less beneficial impact. Sudden moves – without significant change in fundamentals - give misleading signals to people who do not look at the wider picture & their reactions distort operations for all stakeholders in the chain which is not good for the growth and health of the business

We can expect uncertainty – and scarcity of offers - to continue for a few weeks and this should give everyone time to reflect on how they should react to the current situation

Would appreciate your views on present market situation, your forecast on activity & price trend for next 2-3 months and your insight on movements on demand side for 2008

Regards
Pankaj N. Sampat

Monday, November 12, 2007

Our weekly cashews update
Nov 12, 2007
Cashew market continued its upward movement last week - business was done W240 around 2.85, W320 around 2.45, W450 around 2.30 FOB. There were rumours of some trades for W320 few cents higher as well. There was a fair amount of buying interest from USA at these levels and other markets are also picking up some quantities. Offers from India and Vietnam are limited - processors are concerned how things will move in coming weeks after the big jump on small volume. Processors in Brazil are still not offering any significant quantities... and this situation will continue until RCN arrivals pick upTanzania RCN has still not started moving. Until the stalemate is resolved, Indian processors will be reluctant to make any large sales for 2008 shipments as they do not know what price they will have to pay for seed for first quarter processing. If buying interest does not subside in coming weeks, we could be looking at firmer market throughout 2008 but on the other hand, if buyers keep away from the market for few weeks till East Africa & Brazil crops start moving we will see the market stabilising around current levels.. After that, next direction - up or down - will depend on how kernel buyers operate in first quarter (just before Vietnam, India, West Africa crops start)

Regards,
Pankaj N. Sampat
Mumbai India

Monday, November 05, 2007

: "A shortage is expected"First Diamond walnuts arrived in EuropeTholen - This morning, the first boat with new Diamond walnuts has arrived in Europe. A shortage of several nuts and dried fruits including Diamond walnuts is expected. The first boat - of course - also carried walnuts for the Dutch importer Tovano. Richard Strijbis of Tovano was very pleased with the quality of the first Diamond walnuts. In spite of the shortage, Tovano will regularly receive Diamond walnuts. “We recommend our customers to reserve the volume they want to buy in advance”, says Richard Strijbis.
look at these articles basically they are preparing us for the surge in price

US: Cranberry production surges on wave of demand

With candy-corn season past, the holiday feast season has begun, and that calls for a lot of cranberries.Washington produces many of its own cranberries in the state's southwest corner, where farmers expect this year's harvest to yield 180,000 barrels, or about 18 million pounds. It is the country's fifth-largest cranberry producer.Some will be sold fresh and used in cranberry sauce, but most become cranberry juice or dried, sweetened cranberries.This year, dried cranberries surpassed dried apricots as the country's second-most-popular dried fruit. They still trail raisins, which have more than 40 percent of the market, according to Grocery Headquarters Magazine.Part of cranberries' popularity comes from their recently discovered antioxidant value. By some measures, cranberries have more antioxidants than blueberries, a claim that ticks off some blueberry producers."Cranberries are upsetting some other berries, that's for sure," said Peter Guyer, president of Athena Marketing International in Seattle, a consulting firm for the food and beverage industry. Some players, even in the cranberry industry, want a standard measure for antioxidants so that consumers will know which claims to trust, Guyer said.Ocean Spray recently spent almost $18 million boosting production of its "Craisins" at a factory in Markham, near Aberdeen.More than half of Washington's cranberries become Craisins, estimated Kim Patten, a horticulture professor at Washington State University's extension unit on the Long Beach Peninsula.Still, during last week's sunny weather, Washington cranberry farmers harvested as many fresh cranberries as they could. Fresh cranberries bring prices 20 to 40 percent higher than those sold for processing, said Carl Waara, a fourth-generation cranberry farmer in Grayland.With vines dating back to 1925, Waara remains one of the state's few full-time cranberry farmers.Many were wiped out in a market crash about a decade ago. Others suffered from last year's anemic harvest, which came in about 39 percent below the prior year."Last year was the worst in history, for me personally and for most of the area," Waara said. His cranberries rebounded along with most of the state's crop this year.Source: theolympian.com

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Pecan Market Update
Oct,4 2007

New crop pricing are starting to come in and everyone is looking for the lowest prices that will become available.
starting prices are opening @ $3.85 FOB TX for Jr. Mammoth halves with all the hopes that from here we will see this market declining which some even think it could come down as low as $3.50 lb.
hopefully we should know more in the next 2 weeks.
Weekly Cashews Market Update
Nov 3, 2007

Cashew prices moved up again middle of this week – volume traded was limited due to reluctance of processors. Business was done W240 at 2.70/72, W320 at 2.35/37 and W450 at 2.20/22 FOB (there are rumours of some sales few cents higher as well). Most of the business was for nearbys but there were reports of some sales for forwards as well.

Vietnam is reported to have sold reasonable quantities in last two weeks, and they seem to be willing to sell few cents lower than India for 2008 shipments. Brazil is relatively quiet and this was probably the trigger for firming up of market at this time – buyers who were waiting & hoping to cover Nov-Mar shipments from Brazil are now buying from other origins due to lack of any big selling interest from Brazil. Unless Brazil is able to offer reasonable quantities in coming weeks, firmness will continue

Tanzania RCN has still not started moving. Until the stalemate is resolved, Indian processors will be reluctant to make any large sales for 2008 shipments as they do not know what price they will have to pay for seed for first quarter processing. And this will have impact on RCN pricing at the beginning of India, Vietnam, West Africa as well

Market is currently influenced by unusual tightness in supply of RCN (normally at this time Tanzania & Brazil crops should be in full swing). If buyers continue to buy aggressively in coming weeks, we might see a new higher range being established for 2008. But if they slow down after covering immediate needs, we will see prices stabilising around current levels for next few months. Next indicator for price trend for second half 2008 will be the Northern Hemisphere crops beginning in March

Market is very delicately poised and so, a time to be careful
>>>

Would appreciate your views on current market situation, forecast for demand and price trends in 2008 and any other news or info

Mumbai India

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

R.L. “Pete” Turner October 31, 2007

WALNUT MARKET/CROP REPORT

CROP:
The Walnut Marketing Board announced the September shipments at 22,594 inshell equivalent tons; about the same as last year. Inshell shipments were 6.9 million pounds, compared to 5.9 million pounds last September. Shelled shipments were 16.4 million pounds, 0.4 million pounds less than last year. Total inshell equivalent year to date shipments are 39,984 tons; 280 tons more than last year to date shipments.

It is still a little early to make a good crop prediction but most in the industry believe the crop is coming in short of the 320,000 tons official forecast. The early varieties as well as the Hartley’s seem to be coming in close to the forecast. However, packers and growers are reporting that Chandlers are coming in short of the official state forecast. Based on the current information and input from the grower/packers I would have to guess the crop is closer to 300,000 tons than the original 320,000 ton estimate.

However, the quality of the crop appears be well above average with very little insect or sunburn damage. The Chandlers have great color as well as the Serr’s, Vina’s and Hartley’s. Most are reporting that the Howard’s are darker than normal, but are above average in edible yield.


MARKET:
As expected, empty pipe lines put a heavy demand for early shipments causing the market to strengthen rapidly. The early opening on Light Halves & Pieces started out at $3.05 range and quickly jumped to $3.35. Inshell Jumbo opened at $1.20 and went to $1.35 when Diamond opened their price two days later. Shelled material took another jump when they opened LHP at $3.80. The market quickly followed.

The current market on Jumbo Hartley’s is between $1.50 and $1.55 with Chandler LHP offering at $3.90. Because of the shortage of small material, Medium and Small Pieces are trading $0.15 to $0.25 above the Halves and Pieces. Topping Pieces is well above the $4 levels.

Because of the sudden strengthen of the market; it is difficult to determine where it may go over the next several months. However, if the crop continues to come up short, I do not believe the market will weaken, in fact, it may get firmer as we get closer to the holidays.

Please let me know if you have any questions or comments.

Pete
Vietnam′s cashew export increases in first 10 months
Vietnam has so far this year reaped cashew export revenues of 523 million U.S. dollars, posting a year-on-year rise of 27 percent, local newspaper Investment reported Friday. The country has exported some 130,000 tons of the nuts since the beginning of this year, up 22 percent, mainly to China, the United States, Russia, Japan and the Middle East, the paper quoted the Vietnamese Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development as reporting.Vietnam planned to increase its cashew cultivation acreage to 450,000 hectares from 350,000 hectares in 2005, with estimated annual yield of 500,000 tons in 2010, said the ministry. Vietnam is expected to earn some 560 million dollars from exporting 140,000 tons of cashew nuts in 2007, up 10.9 percent and 10.2 percent respectively against 2006, according to the Vietnam Cashew Association. Source: people.com.cn
Publication date: 10/31/2007

Monday, October 29, 2007

Breeding bolsters macadamia industry profits

New varieties emerging from the macadamia breeding program could increase profitability across the whole macadamia supply chain by 30 per cent. According to Project Leader, CSIRO’s Dr Craig Hardner, the best of the 20 new macadamias selected could produce double the yield of current commercial varieties.“Kernel quality seems to have also been improved through the breeding program and this may reduce the level of reject kernel prior to roasting,” Dr Hardner said. Former Deputy Chief of CSIRO Plant Industry and current Horticulture Australia Limited’s (HAL) Chair, Dr Nigel Steele Scott was part of the team that initiated the project in 1992 with a long-term set of breeding goals aimed at improving macadamia profitability.“It is really exciting to see how this project has developed, kept focus and is now delivering. All of us involved in this, now and in the past, can be proud that we have probably made the most significant progress in the domestication of any Australian native plant,” Dr Steele Scott said. The selected macadamias come from crosses made between macadamias from native populations in Australia and varieties from Hawaii developed from Australian seed. The wealth of macadamia’s genetic material in the Australian bush can be used to breed better commercial macadamia varieties suited to Australian conditions. Queensland Department of Primary Industries and Fisheries will now run trials of the selected macadamias in different regions to confirm the elite performers and their utility.“These trials will ensure growers get the most profitable varieties when they become commercially available in about eight years,” Dr Hardner said. Growers are enthusiastic about the selections and are hoping to get involved in the early trials.“These new varieties will help keep Australian producers competitive in export markets where we compete against countries with lower labour costs,” said Mr Kim Jones, Macadamia Industry Development Manager.This research is done by CSIRO in partnership with Queensland Department of Primary Industries and Fisheries and NSW Department of Primary Industries. The project was facilitated by HAL in partnership with the Australian Macadamia Society and was funded by the macadamia levy.Source: csiro.au
Publication date: 10/29/2007
Cashews Weekly update October 29, 2007

Although activity last week was limited, cashew market undertone was firm with very few offers – W240 around 2.70, W320 around 2.30, W450 around 2.15 FOB. Some business has been done for nearbys at these levels from India and Vietnam.

Brazil crop may not be as big as initially reported – it may only be same or slightly higher than last year. RCN prices are high & processors are finding it difficult to sell at current levels with a very strong currency

Rawcashew market is quiet – offers from Indonesia are very high and Tanzania stalemate continues. If not resolved quickly, this might affect processing in first quarter of 2008

In general, prices for all nuts are firm – some due to short crops and some due to good marketing. Growth in consumption is steady but not spectacular. As far as cashews are concerned, excess inventories have been used up – supply & demand seem to be well balanced.

Processors are reluctant to take large positions for 2008. If USD continues to be weak in first half 2008, this could have significant impact on WA RCN pricing. Buyers are still not prepared to pay premium for forwards as they feel that there is nothing on demand & supply front to warrant a big jump in prices

For next few weeks (maybe months), present trend of nearby activity and firmness can be expected to continue. Change in perception can only happen in Mar-May when three major regions will be harvesting. Exchange rate at that time and ability of processors & kernel traders and users to manage positions in the meantime will determine whether there will be a big change in price range

Regards,
Pankaj N. Sampat
Mumbai India

Monday, October 22, 2007

Rain complicates walnut harvest
STOCKTON October 17, 2007 4:24am
• Some nuts in the mud
• Can hinder mechanical harvesters Muddy orchards are complicating the end of harvest for a number of Central Valley walnut growers.
They had walnuts laid in rows on the ground when heavy rain fell on their orchards. Now, the farmers are scrambling to get the nuts picked up and dried before more rain falls.
Some farmers have almost completed harvest work, but others have much yet to do.
Walnuts grow throughout the Central Valley, but San Joaquin County has the most acreage and has had periodic rain.
Walnuts are harvested September through November. The nuts are removed from trees by machines that shake the nuts to the ground. They are then swept from the orchard floor by mechanical harvesters and taken to processing plants where they are dried and cleaned before being packed.
Virtually all – some 99 percent -- of U.S. walnuts are produced in California.
The California walnut industry is made up of over 5,300 walnut growers and about 55 walnut processors
Copyright Central Valley Business Times © 2007 Central Valley Business Times is an online unit of BizGnus, Inc. All rights reserved. No content may be reused without written permission.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Cashews market updateOct 20, 2007
Cashew market seems to have settled down in a comfortable range – W240 around 2.65, W320 around 2.25, W450 around 2.10 FOB. Reasonable volumes are being traded from India & Vietnam.
Rawcashew market is quiet – offers from Indonesia are very high and Tanzania stalemate continues. Until they come to realistic levels, movements are unlikely to start.
Inventories of main grades are low in USA & Europe and this will keep market steady. Volume traded for next year has not been much – processors are not keen to sell unless they get a premium and buyers feel that there is nothing to trigger a change in the current price range. Supply growth will take care of normal consumption growth
Weaker USD means lower realisations for origins and attractive prices for non-US markets. This could have some impact on market in coming months
Overall feeling is that market will move within few cents of current range with a possibility of some increase in case of any supply disruption or big jump in demand
Would appreciate your comments on market situation and your forecast of demand & price trend and any other news or info
Regards,
Pankaj N. Sampat
Mumbai India

Monday, September 24, 2007

Weekly Cashews update
September 22, 2007
There was very little activity in cashew market this week and no change in prices. Stray trades reported W240 around 2.65, W320 around 2.25, W450 around 2.10, Splits around 1.80 FOB. Prices from Vietnam and Brazil were almost the same
Indonesia RCN being offered at high levels but no buying interest from main processors. Tanzania has not announced price, tax, policy – final meetings scheduled next week. Stakeholders hope they will fix realistic parameters so that movement is smooth and in time
Kernel buyers seem to be content to pick up quantities when reasonable offers are made… or paying up few cents for limited quantities they need to fill specific needs. There does not appear to be any interest to pay premium to build up long position
Similarly large processors are content to sell some quantities at each spurt and then wait for next selling opportunity – not keen to take any large positions unless they get a premium. Medium & small processors continue to sell when they need to (or are able to)
Product movement is steady and there is no excess inventory. This is good in the sense that entire chain is comfortable but any disruption in supply or jump in demand could queer the pitch
Overall we would expect market to move in 2.15-2.30 range unless something dramatic happens. Given the narrow margins, pricing RCN for first quarter 2008 processing and kernels for first half 2008 shipments is going to be a challenge
Regards,
Pankaj N. Sampat
Mumbai India

Monday, September 17, 2007

BY NEIL MURRAY
FOODNEWS
Friday August 31 2007

WITH just a few weeks to go before the US cranberry harvest begins, the Ocean Spray Growers Co-operative, the largest cranberry producer, has warned that supplies of raw material will be tight over the foreseeable future.
This backs up an earlier warning, at the FOODNEWS Juice Latin America conference in Sao Paulo, that a shortage was looming (FOODNEWS 18 May). The unfolding situation is being driven by a healthy escalation in sales from markets around the world, with the biggest impact from the US domestic market, as consumers increase their demand for the health benefits, taste and refreshment offered by cranberry products.
This position reflects that seen for many other fruits and nuts whose global demand is soaring, but whose supplies may sometimes fall short.
"Demand for cranberries has never been higher, driven by the growing awareness of taste and the many health benefits associated with the fruit. The success of Ocean Spray's marketing campaign in the US has created 8% base volume growth and this is being reflected elsewhere as the brand's position is being developed," said Jamie Robinson, commercial director of Ocean Spray International Services UK.
He told FOODNEWS that supply into the US market grew to 7.9 million barrels in 2006, compared with 7.2 million barrels in the previous year. US production is estimated at around 6.8 million barrels, and the rest of the supply is mostly accounted for by imports from Chile.
Fruit damage
Ocean Spray will not be drawn yet on prospects for the 2007 crop, but warns that recent hailstorms have definitely damaged the fruit."So there is only a slim chance for a large crop," warned Robinson. In addition, last year's crop was a record, and the natural crop cycle means that this year's harvest is bound to be smaller.
The rising popularity of Ocean Spray's 'craisins', sweetened dried cranberries (or SDCs), means that an increasing volume of cranberries is also being used for dried fruit production rather than juice and juice drinks.
Originally, cranberries were almost all processed into sauce and eaten by Americans on Thanksgiving Day. Now, more than 90% of the fruit is processed into juice, and in the next few years the market will be split between juice and SDCs."The demand is for craisins, and it is constraining the supply for juice," confirmed Robinson. A buyer in the UK confirmed that more fruit has been going for SDCs.
The fresh market takes about 5% of the fruit supply, and is relatively stable.
US cranberry sales in the September 2006-April 2007 period (the most recent for which figures are available) have risen to 4.4 million barrels, compared with 3.7 million barrels for the same period a year previously.
European demand in the year to April 2007 has, on the other hand, been relatively flat, but is now growing, especially in France. Again, the perceived health benefits of cranberries are responsible for this.
Ocean Spray will not be drawn on the cost of new crop cranberry concentrate. The present spot market price is around US$50/gallon, roughly equivalent to US$10 500/ tonne. Earlier this year, the spot price was nearer US$42/gallon.
"The price to manufacturers will go up; no question," warned Robinson.
He added: "Despite this shortage, we want to reassure our customers that the Ocean Spray Growers are committed to providing Ocean Spray supplied products for the UK.
We are, however, competing with other markets and customers to secure continuous supply."
© 2007 Agra Informa Ltd.The content of this web site is copyright by Agra Informa Ltd. Reproduction, retrieval, copying or transmission of the content of this site is not permitted without the publisher's prior consent.
Weekly Cashew Update
Sep 15, 2007
Cashew market continued to be quiet – last week there were some sales of W320 from India at lower levels but this week not much activity reported. Prices are steady – around 2.65 for W240, around 2.25 for W320, around 2.15 for W450.. There were reports of sales from Vietnam at lower levels – mainly for FH 2008 shipments but some for end 2007 as well
RCN prices in Indonesia are high for early shipments but doubt whether these are sustainable with current kernel prices.. No news from Tanzania about Government / Board policy on pricing, levies, taxes - it seems crop will be normal
Brazil is expecting a good crop but this has still not resulted in any selling pressure - clearer picture should be available by mid Oct when arrivals are in full swing
In next few weeks, there might be some good demand for spot / nearby shipments but not certain whether this will translate into contracting for next year at higher levels.. Traders may decide to buy only what they absolutely need to fulfill delivery commitments and wait for dips in market to cover forward positions.
Overall demand growth seems to be steady… unless there is big jump in demand or shortage in supply (either of which could lead to change in sentiment) we expect market to stabilise around current levels with usual periodic spurts and dips
Would appreciate comments on market situation, any info on demand trends & your views on demand prospects, prices in your market and any other news or info
Regards,
Pankaj N. Sampat
Mumbai India

Monday, September 10, 2007

Southwest Nut Company, Inc.
Pecan Market Update
September 4, 2007





http://viewer.zoho.com/docs/g3Fxf
September 8, 2007
Cashew market was quiet this week. W320 prices softened for nearby positions as some processors dropped selling ideas due to lack of buying interest. Large processors ideas continued to be around 2.70 for W240, 2.30 for W320, and 2.15 for W450. Brazil and Vietnam prices are almost the same as India and not much activity reported from these origins either
Indonesia RCN prices MOVED UP but activity is very limited. Unless RCN prices ease or kernel prices move up, we do not expect any rush from India to buy Indonesia or Vietnam RCN as processors seem to have adequate stocks in warehouses and pipeline. Since no big change is expected in kernel demand or prices, processors will be cautious in buying RCN unless there is a reasonable parity
Brazil is expecting a good crop but processors do not seem to be in hurry to make sales – probably they expect good demand from USA for next few months
It seems that kernel market is comfortable in current range (which is higher than the range we have seen since last quarter 2005 to mid 2007) and will continue to move within this range with periodic jumps and dips for specific grades and positions.. Differentials for lower grades have narrowed down to the old levels and industry seems to be adjusting to this.. Differentials for large sizes continue to be big and it does not seem that this will change in near future
Regards,
Pankaj N. Sampat
Mumbai India

Thursday, September 06, 2007




Looking for Gold in Them Thar Trees
Investors Rush Into Almonds,But Will They Stick AroundAs Prices Slip, Costs Rise?
By MALIA WOLLANSeptember 6, 2007; Page B1
Greg Hostetler is a real-estate developer who builds subdivisions in California's Central Valley. But the past few years, he's gone nuts.
To be precise, Mr. Hostetler has been building a sideline in almonds, spending $60 million to buy and plant 4,500 acres of trees since 2000. This year, he plans to shell out at least another $5 million to plant an additional 1,000 acres.
"The almond market is looking a lot better than the housing market right now," he says.
Mr. Hostetler isn't the only newcomer jumping into California's almond game, where orchards now stretch down the Central Valley from Red Bluff in the north to Bakersfield in the south. In the past few years, doctors, lawyers, pension-fund managers and pro football Hall-of-Famers, among others, have all snapped up farmland in the state to plant almonds as world-wide demand for the nut has grown by 11% between 2001 and 2006. And despite some concerns on the horizon, many of the newer growers remain optimistic.
"Everyone knows that almonds are a great investment," says Monterey, Calif., restaurateur Dominic Mercurio, who has teamed with football commentator John Madden to purchase nearly 400 acres of almond orchards, spending more than $3 million since they bought their first 25 acres in the late 1990s. Mr. Mercurio says he and the former Oakland Raiders coach intend to buy at least another 600 acres in the next few years.
While some investors have been lured to almonds because of agricultural tax breaks, the recent rush has mainly been spurred by a boom in demand, partly fueled by high-protein diets such as Atkins and South Beach. The industry has also assiduously marketed the cousin of the peach and the plum, touting it as filling, high in antioxidants that fight colon cancer and good for the heart. The upshot: Between 2001 and 2006, the industry says, annual consumption of almonds in the U.S. grew by more than a quarter, exceeding a pound per person.
That's good news for California's agricultural sector since more than 80% of the world's almonds are grown in the state, flourishing in the Central Valley's fertile soil and a climate similar to the Mediterranean where almond trees have thrived for centuries. The nut is the state's biggest agricultural export -- ahead of wine, strawberries and cotton -- worth more than $2.7 billion a year. Overall, California has 730,000 acres of almonds now, up from 389,000 acres in 1980, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The department forecasts a record 1.33-billion-pound almond crop for 2007, up 19% from 2006.
But many of the people jumping into almonds are doing so even as prices for the nut have been sliding. In 2005, farmers received $2.80 to $4 per pound of almonds. Now, about a third of the way through the almond harvest, farmers are getting $1.50 to $1.80 per pound. In a classic agricultural cycle, high crop prices resulted in a rush to plant trees, leading to a market glut of nuts. Meanwhile, almond production costs have also risen -- especially for the bees that pollinate the flowers and the diesel oil that fuels the machines that shake the nuts from the trees, sweep them from the ground and truck them to market. Recent salmonella worries have also led to new rules for pasteurizing almonds with either heat or chemicals, adding additional expenses for growers and processors.
"A lot of people are jumping on the tree-nut bandwagon," says Mike Iliff, senior appraiser for Fresno Madera Farm Credit, an agricultural lender. "They'll plant and grow and keep doing it until they drop the price down and satiate the market. You can always depend on agriculture to stab itself in the foot."
All of this has roused the ire of some longtime almond farmers, who say the newcomers are driving up land values and driving down nut prices. Second-generation farmer Stuart Woolf, who farms in Fresno and Madera County, says the ranch adjoining his 10,000 acres is up for sale at "an inflated price." The per-acre price for almond orchards in 2006 in Madera County was $8,500 to $15,000, up from $3,500 to $8,500 in 2000, according to the American Society of Farm Managers and Rural Appraisers.
Though Mr. Woolf would like to own the neighboring property himself, he says "some doctor who knows nothing about farming is likely going to buy it." That makes him worry that almonds have become more about land speculation than agriculture. He calls people like him who know the farming business and want to invest for the long haul, "patient money." These days, he says, he sees a lot of "impatient money" in almonds.
Hartley Spycher planted his first almond trees in 1960, now has 500 acres of the nuts in Turlock, Calif., and is planting 80 additional acres this year. He is less concerned about land than he is about water, worrying that as more people punch wells into the ground to irrigate their orchards, water will become scarce. Still, he says it's a free market. "If I was 18 years old, I'd be more worried," says the 70 year old.
Almonds first landed in California with Franciscan monks in the mid-1770s aboard Spanish ships bound for missions along the coast. Serious cultivation didn't begin until the 1870s, when pioneers planted hardier varieties deep in the state's interior, particularly in the Central Valley.
Since 1950, the nut has had its own marketing arm called the California Almond Board; almond farmers fund the group through a mandatory fee. In the mid-1990's, the board launched international marketing efforts to increase international sales, funded scientific research and succeeded in getting the Food and Drug Administration to certify almonds as "heart healthy." At the 2006 Oscars and other celebrity events, the board even arranged to have the nuts tucked into VIP goodie bags.
That rising profile of almonds helped attract the newcomers, including Silicon Valley developer and lawyer John Vidovich. Mr. Vidovich, who started getting into almonds in 1998, has since become one of the state's larger growers with 15,000 acres of the nuts. "The world needs more almonds," he says. "Almonds help sell other products like cereal and chocolate."
Mr. Hostetler, the Central Valley real-estate developer who is now planting more almond orchards, says his $60 million investment in the nut so far is "a little better than break even," but he'll know more after this year's harvest ends next month.
Mr. Hostetler, who still spends three-quarters of his time in the property business, says he isn't worried about the huge quantity of almonds slated to fall from the trees this season, or the thousands of acres being planted with new trees this year. When he drives his pickup truck out between the dusty rows of trees, he says he sees nothing but bounty and profit on the horizon.
"Almonds are like Las Vegas," says Mr. Hostetler, who eats almonds everyday and keeps a stash in his office. "It keeps growing, people keep thinking it's gotten too big, but still there aren't enough rooms."
Write to Malia Wollan at malia.wollan@wsj.com
RELATED ARTICLES AND BLOGS

Monday, September 03, 2007

Weekly Cashews Update

September 1, 2007

Cashew market continued to be quiet with no perceptible change in prices. Levels were 240 around 2.70, 320 around 2.25, 450 around 2.15, SW around 2.10 FOB. Not much business as small packers do not have much to offer and large packers looking for few cents more

As expected, early prices for Indonesia RCN are high but unless kernel market continues to be firm in Sep, processors will not been keen to buy at these levels. Tanzania crop is expected to be good but it is to be seen what Government decides about pricing guidance, taxation, financing to local industry.

Brazil is expecting a good crop but opening prices might be high as processors do not have stock and current kernel prices are higher than last year (however the stronger currency might cap the RCN prices in local currency). If RCN prices stabilise at reasonable levels, USA might be able to cover first quarter needs from Brazil and this would cap the rise in kernel prices

In the next 8-10 weeks, fair amount of contracting will be done in Europe for next year deliveries (in last couple of years we have noticed slight shift – buying has been more spread out, either due to change in buying pattern or because the market has been moving in a narrow range). This time, pricing might be difficult as we are looking at a new, higher range after a long period of trading in the 1.90-2.10 range. The stronger Euro/GBP makes life little easier for buyers in Europe (which is the second biggest cashew importing region)

Overall, feeling is that unless there is a big surge in demand, we will see market stabilizing around current levels – downside is limited
Regards,
Pankaj N. Sampat
Mumbai India

Monday, August 27, 2007

US: Almond wait causes strain

A proposed delay in the launch of a mandatory pasteurization program for California almonds is not sitting well with nut processors gearing up for the expected Sept. 1 start.The Almond Board of California has requested that the U.S. Department of Food and Agriculture postpone the start of the program for six months, until March 1, to ensure the industry has met all the pasteurization steps required under the new law.Richard Waycott, president of the Modesto-based Almond Board of California, said the industry wasn't completely ready when it surveyed its members in August."We don't want the public to think we are stalling," Waycott said. "This is just taking us longer than we would like."The industry began the pasteurization effort several years ago after being rocked by two cases of salmonella contamination in the past five years. Both cases of salmonella outbreaks were linked to raw almonds.But some companies that have invested hundreds of thousands of dollars in pasteurization equipment designed to kill harmful bacteria say the delay is too long. Those companies would pasteurize the almonds as a service for growers."It is going to hurt us," said George Tavernas of California Nut Co., near Turlock. "We have a big investment in this. We expected to make $300,000 to $400,000, and now we won't have that."Others face a similar dilemma.Dale and Sheri Alquist of Going Nuts in Madera said getting their pasteurization plant ready has taken them a year and nearly $1 million. And they said they can't afford to have it sit idle until March."We could go bankrupt if this delay takes place," Sheri Alquist said. "This was going to be our business, and now we have no business."Alquist said she is hoping the USDA rules against the almond board and forces a Sept. 1 start date.That remains to be seen. A federal agricultural official said Monday said that the agency expects to hear the request in the coming weeks."The concern we are hearing is that as they gear up, there is an issue of readiness," said Michael Durando, administrative branch chief for the USDA's Agricultural Marketing Service in Washington, D.C.Waycott said the process to validate the pasteurization program for the industry has been time-consuming and complex.A technical-review panel was created to make sure that the processes used by the industry comply with the law's requirements for minimum safety levels.Source: redding.com
Vietnam: Cashew nut exports total 92.000 tonnes in eight months
Viet Nam exported 92,000 tonnes of cashew nuts in the first eight months of this year, fetching 375 million USD, completing almost 66 percent of this year's plan in volume and 67 percent in export value.The US remained the biggest market of Vietnamese cashew nut, which imported almost 21,000 tonnes, worth more than 86 million USD, or about 33 percent of Viet Nam 's total cashew nut export in the first eight months of 2007. It was followed by China with 11,630 tonnes, worth nearly 43 million USD.The price of cashew nut is expected to increase to 4,100 USD per tonne from 3,950 USD last year, according to the Viet Nam Cashew Association.The Ministry of Industry and Trade, revealed that about 164 businesses nationwide are involved in cashew nut export, including 26 major businesses with annual export turnovers of more than 5 million USD.In an effort to promote export in the remaining four months of this year, the Cashew Association plans to renew processing equipment and production organisation and import about 50,000 tonnes of raw cashew nut to be processed for export.
I do not agree with this info but i decided to post it anyways


Hello all,

As many of you are aware, the USDA turned down the request by the California Almond Board to delay implementation of new regulations that will require all "raw" almonds to be "pasteurized" (treated a toxic fumigant or steam heating)…. if this regulation is allowed to go into effect there will be no such thing as truly raw almonds grown and marketed in this country … and possibly no longer domestic organic almonds. And one of the most egregious aspects of this new rule is that even after pasteurizing almonds with a gas considered as a possible carcinogen, or steam heating, the almonds will still be labeled as …. raw!

The Almond Board had asked for the delay because adequate production capacity was not in place to meet the September 1 deadline – an argument rejected by the USDA in their rush forward with this rule. We still question whether there is sufficient capacity to treat almonds with steam heat, rather than the only other approved alternative; the toxic fumigant propylene oxide.

We are in the midst of an aggressive campaign to pressure the USDA Secretary to suspend this rule’s implementation until the public has had a chance to have a say. If you have not already done so, we encourage you to visit the Cornucopia website (http://www.cornucopia.org/) and click on the "Authentic Almond Project" navigation button for full campaign information including a comprehensive fact sheet on the issue. Please forward a link to your staff, customers or members.

Our next step is to get public interest groups and industry professionals (growers, handlers, processors who use almonds in their products and retailers) to sign–on to the letter below.

Please click back to us with your authorization, by 5 p.m. Monday, to add your name/organization as a signatory to this important communication to the USDA Secretary. Our goal is to release this letter to the USDA next Tuesday, August 28, so we need your authorization before this to add your name to the list of signatories to the letter. This letter will not be going out under Cornucopia letterhead. It is intended to reflect the broad diversity of stakeholders engaged in and concerned with this issue. Signatories will be listed alphabetically. And if you are a farmer, please indicate so with your message authorizing us to sign you on and if you're farmer please indicate so with your message authorizing us to sign you on.

Not only is this campaign important to those who depend on raw almonds as an important and nutritious component to their diet, and those whose livelihoods depend in part by meeting these consumers expectations, this could very well be a watershed event.

We need to draw the line in the sand right here and right now. If the almond industry is successful in implementing this new "pasteurization" requirement we could very well be starting the proverbial trip down a very slippery slope — what will be the next fresh and nutritious food that will require some kind of pasteurization or even irradiation to be considered safe?

Sincerely yours,

Will Fantle
Research Director
The Cornucopia Institute



@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@


August 28, 2007


Secretary Mike JohannsUnited States Department of Agriculture1400 Independence Ave SWWhitten Building Suite 200AWashington, D.C. 20250

Dear Secretary Johanns –

As stakeholders in the domestic almond industry, we are concerned and alarmed by the potential ramifications of the USDA’s pasteurization mandate for all domestically grown raw almonds sold in the United States. We would like to take this opportunity to share our concerns with you regarding this important new regulation.

These are matters we would have preferred to raise with you and the USDA during the comment period earlier this year when the draft rule was published for review. Unfortunately, the majority of the undersigned were unaware of the proposed regulations. Almost none of us were the generous recipients of a private mailing to handlers and processors from the Almond Board of California alerting us to the draft regulation and inviting our comments. Perhaps this accounted for the incredibly anemic 18 public comments that were submitted on the draft regulation. Nonetheless, our concerns are legitimate, and we believe they should be addressed by the USDA.

One thing we can all agree on is that California almonds are the industry’s gold standard; they are clearly the superior-quality product available in the marketplace. What is at stake, however, is the future structure and shape of domestic almond production and the continued consumption and use of California almonds in this country.

As you certainly understand, the almond is not an inherently risky food. Salmonella contamination, from fecal material, occurs when it is introduced during the handling and processing of almonds. We believe it makes sense to minimize those practices that contribute to contamination risks.

However, the preferred plan of mandatory pasteurization selected by USDA is being rushed forward and has yet to be carefully vetted by all industry stakeholders. In particular, the following aspects still need to be publicly addressed:

American almond farmers are being placed at a distinct economic disadvantage. The fact that imported raw almonds sold in the U.S. do not require pasteurization harms domestic producers and is already shifting some domestic markets to foreign sources as retailers and manufacturers of products formerly containing California almonds make the switch. These savvy marketers understand that their consumers want truly raw almonds. The foreign raw almond treatment loophole is totally illogical and at odds with the rule’s rationalization of public safety and may very well not stand a court test.

This rule will impose financial burdens on small-scale and organic farmers. The costs of the chemicals and heat treatments, in addition to the costs of extra transportation and reporting, will be disproportionably taxing on smaller producers and handlers. This is unfair since none of the reported Salmonella cases in 2001 or 2004 were traced to small-scale or organic farms. We know that the Almond Board of California performed a cursory economic analysis of the treatment impacts. The lot size for treatment, used in the macro analysis, does not take into account the realities of organic and small-scale production.

§ The least expensive option approved for "pasteurization" is treatment with propylene oxide. This substance is classified as “possibly carcinogenic to humans” by the International Agency for Research on Cancer. Propylene oxide treatment of foods is banned in the European Union, Canada, Mexico, and many other countries. We assume you know this, as almonds exported from this country will not require pasteurization. The need to segregate exported almonds will add a significant economic burden for many producers/handlers.

§ Neither the USDA nor the Almond Board of California has released the scientific research publicly justifying the selection of propylene oxide treatment. We need the opportunity to review why it makes sense for U.S. customers to eat almonds gassed with a substance that most of the world questions the safety of. Only the Almond Board of California and its constituents have researched the pasteurization of almonds, reporting that there is no significant reduction in their quality or nutrition. Serious questions remain unanswered.

§ Organic growers and handlers that we have collaborated with indicate that there is a shortage of facilities able to provide the high-temperature or steam treatment of raw almonds. Since the propylene oxide process is not allowed under the National Organic Program Standards, this presents a difficult situation for California’s organic almond producers. This issue must be resolved before mandated pasteurization begins. Unless you intervene, domestically produced organic almonds may become unavailable after September 1. In addition, no research has been released for public review that assesses potential nutritional and compositional changes that occur in the steam-treated nuts. The public needs to see this research and have the opportunity to review and comment on it prior to this rule going into effect.

§ It is misleading and deceptive to label pasteurized almonds as “raw.” Many consumers wish to purchase truly raw, unprocessed almonds, for health, religious, or other personal reasons. In fact for some consumers with serious health issues, raw almonds may comprise as much as 30% of their dietary intake following their personal processing of the nut into various food forms. One reasonable alternative to the new rule would be to provide an unpasteurized almond option with a label clearly identifying the almond as unpasteurized. Another option would allow exemptions for organic and small-scale growers—there is some evidence that almonds grown in these environments might be inherently less risky in terms of contamination.

If there is an ongoing issue with Salmonella contamination, we need to see the scientific research that identifies it as a systemic problem, and not one that is associated solely with the largest almond farming operations or poor handling practices at the hulling and shelling level. We also want a full review of other treatment alternatives that might be less objectionable to consumers.

The above-noted comments capture many, but not all, of the issues we are concerned with regarding the mandated pasteurization plan.

We are requesting that you take action in the best interests of all almond stakeholders. Therefore, we ask that you suspend the implementation of this new regulation for a minimum of 180 days prior to the September 1 implementation date and then initiate a full review of the almond pasteurization rule with the widely disseminated notice of the opportunity for public input.

Respectfully yours,

(growers, industry participants, retailers and public interest groups are listed in alphabetical order)





Mark A. Kastel
The Cornucopia Institute
kastel@cornucopia.org
608-625-2042 Voice
866-861-2214 Fax



P.O. Box 126
Cornucopia, Wisconsin 54827
http://www.cornucopia.org/

August 25, 2007
Cashew market was quiet this week but undertone continued to be firm. Price levels were W240 around 2.65, W320 around 2.25, W450 around 2.15 FOB but not much business being done. Although buyers are picking up some quantities at current levels, they are not willing to pay few cents more that large processors are asking
It seems that buyers have covered most of what they need for next 2-3 months shipments and would like to see how things develop in Sep/Oct before buying additional (which they probably will have to do in next few weeks in order to be able to take positions for 2008 deliveries).
Similarly, processors have adequate sales to be shipped in next few months and do not seem to be in hurry to make additional sales (even though current prices are quite attractive compared to levels of last 18-24 months)
Feeling is that market will stabilise around current levels but if demand is strong & kernel prices continue to move up in Sep/Oct, it will impact RCN pricing in Indonesia & East Africa and establish a higher trading range for 2008
Would appreciate your comments on market situation, views on prospects for coming weeks & months and any other news or info
Also, please advise buying interest & we will do our best to put something together

Regards,
Pankaj N. Sampat
Mumbai India

Monday, August 20, 2007

Firm expands pecan operations to San Simon
TUCSON (AP) — A farming company that already has more than 100,000 pecan trees south of Tucson is now planting in eastern Cochise County, near the New Mexico state line.
Farmer’s Investment Co. is planting its next generation of trees on more than 2,700 acres it recently bought near the tiny community of Sam Simon, said Nan Stockholm Walden, the company’s vice president and general counsel.
The company, which owns The Green Valley Pecan Co., has already planted some 26,000 pecan trees on about 500 acres and will continue planting over the next five years, Walden said.
Dale Leiendecker, Cochise County assessor, said the land was purchased over the past two years in 31 parcels for just over $6.3 million. The company partly used proceeds from land it sold near Maricopa that was being closed in by development.
Walden said the new trees, which now resemble 2- to 3-foot sticks, painted white to protect against the elements, will take seven years to begin producing any significant amount of pecans. The company will truck the pecans to its plant in Sahuarita south of Tucson.
The company has operated farming or ranching operations in several areas of the state and also owns a warehouse in Las Cruces, N.M., and about 1,000 acres near Albany, Ga.
The acquisition of the land near San Simon is part of the company’s strategy to process more of its own nuts and less from other sources, Walden said. “The more we can grow on our own land, and process, the more competitive we are.”
About 60 percent of the pecans processed at the company’s plant in Sahuarita are grown on company land, and the rest come primarily from New Mexico, Texas and Mexico.
The Sahuarita plant processes about 8 million pounds of pecans a year and employs 240 workers.
The company farms more than 100,000 pecan trees on 6,000 acres along the Santa Cruz River in Sahuarita and Green Valley. The trees were planted mainly during the 1960s, but the company was established in 1948 by Keith Walden and is now operated by his son, Richard, who is married to Nan.
“We are agriculturalists,” she said, “and the third generation of our family and our workers are involved now in our operations.”
Cashews Maket Update
August 18, 2007
FOB India prices this week :

W240 US$ 2.70

W320 US$ 2.20 – 2.25

W450 US$ 2.10 – 2.12

SW320 US$ 2.05 – 2.10

SW360 US$ 1.95 – 2.00

SSW US$ 1.90 – 1.95

FS US$ 1.75 – 1.80

FB US$ 1.70

LWP US$ 1.65 (LP 1.45 )

SS/SB US$ 1.55

SP US$ 1.30 – 1.35





Market moved up a few cents this week. Business was done for W240 around 2.70, W320 around 2.20-2.25, W450 around 2.10 with large packers able to sell few cents higher. Fair amount of business has been done in last few weeks from India & Vietnam at all levels



Very little RCN is available in West Africa now but there will continue to be re-sale activity in coming weeks. Next month, India & Vietnam will start looking at Indonesia & East Africa and Brazil will start buying their crop.



RCN prices in Sep/Oct and Brazil kernel offers will have great impact on kernel prices for FH 2008 shipments. Nothing new is expected on supply side – so, the feeling is that in coming weeks, price movement will also depend on demand pull & roasters / traders strategies for FH 2008 purchases.



If shipments in third quarter are good, inventory drawdown will be reduced and upward pressure on prices for nearby shipments will ease.. otherwise spot & prompt demand will keep market firm



At current levels there seems to be reasonable buying interest. It is to be seen whether buyers are willing to pay higher prices or wait for selling interest to emerge to cover their forward requirements – a difficult call to make at any time but more so now, when prices have moved up significantly in a short period after having traded in a narrow range for a long time

Regards,
Pankaj N. Sampat
Mumbai India

Tuesday, August 14, 2007


Pecans, pecans everywhere
Overabundance of nutty crops may mean trouble later
By Judith K. McGinnis/Times Record NewsAugust 13, 2007
Burdened with bounty, the pecan trees of North Texas are looking more and more like weeping willows.
After years of drought conditions, this summer's regular rains have brought out a bumper crop of pecans on both home landscape trees and in commercial orchards. The abundance, however, is weighing down limbs, sometimes dangerously, and may compromise the overall quality of the fall harvest.
"It's a limb-breaker crop," said Tim Montz, a commercial grower who tends more than 200 acres of pecans in the Charlie-Thornberry area. "We usually make about 2,000 pounds (of pecans) an acre but this year it could make 5,000 pounds an acre."
While at first glance that might sound like a good thing, Montz said there's a price to be paid when trees overproduce. Over-crowded nut clusters grow smaller, lower quality pecans and drain the tree of vitality it will need for the following year's crop.
"We work for consistent production. If the trees make too many pecans this year, they won't bear as many next year," said Montz. "That's no good for us."
This is why for the past two weeks Montz has brought tree shaking equipment, typically used only during fall harvest, into the orchards to shake some of the excess pecans off now while they are in what growers call the "water stage."
Those who tend the trees around their homes in anticipation of a freezer full of high quality pecans each year can improve their crop in somewhat the same way. Threshing branches gently with a long pole, the technique some use to get the last autumn pecans down, can thin the overage.
If branches are hanging low enough to brush against roofs, block access to driveways or sweep across lawns, a pruning pole can be employed to break off large, heavy clusters.
Just be ready to take cover when the leathery, lime green shucks begin to fall.
Whenever possible, wait to prune limbs and branches until pecan trees are dormant in the winter and early spring.

• It’s an ‘on’ year for most of the crop
• ‘We’re bursting at the limbs’ Central Valley pistachio growers expect a record-breaking crop this season.
Pistachio trees produce larger crops in alternating years, and orchards in most growing regions are in the "on" year of the cycle.
Preseason weather has also encouraged pistachio production and quality.
“We’re bursting at the limbs,” says Craig Colson, Kern County pistachio farm advisor. “I think this is going to be a real good year for pistachios. I’m pretty impressed with what I’m seeing out there.”
Observers say harvest may start a few days early, with an average start date of September 1st.
California orchards produce 95 percent of the pistachios grown in the U.S.
Mr. Colson says researchers are working on early varieties of the popular nut in an effort to extend the season.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Almond Market Report

Dear Friends:

Yesterday the Almond Board released its final position report for the 2006 crop year showing 82 mil in July shipments—a new record. The industry shipped 1.066 billion for the year ending July 31—also a new record, passing the 2003 crop by 42 million. The final crop was 1.117 billion lbs with 1.083 marketable. That means we shipped the entire 2006 crop. In the coming year, we have a crop estimate of 1.330 billion—finally enough to allow market expansion. The big question is how much can it expand at current prices. The last time we had a crop near enough to cover the market without significant price increases was 2002 crop. In that year we shipped 20% more than the prior crop record and ended up with only 160 mil carry out. If we expand the market 5% per year from then to the 2007 crop, we would ship 1.250 billion lbs—17% increase over the 2006 crop. Here is a possible inventory model:
Carry in Aug 1, 2007 130 million lbs
2007 crop 1.330 bil x 97% 1,290
Supply 1,420
Shipments at 15% increase 1,220
Carry out July 31, 2008 200

This would be the largest carry out since the 1994 crop (25%+ carryout of ‘94 crop) but would represent only 15% of the 2007 crop. We have been carrying out about 10% of the crop, which you all know is not enough for a smooth transition. If shipments increase only 10% for the 2007 crop, we will have a carry out of 250 million lbs, nearly 20% of the crop. We have seen unexpected increases in shipments in the past and need to expect a big increase this season because of the available crop. Price fluctuations will probably be smaller this year because of the extra inventory available. Since 1994, inventories have been restrictive and not allowed full potential of market expansion.

Here are the factors that will determine the supply and demand interaction to determine the price for the 2007 crop:
How much will shipments increase over the record 2006 crop year, and will handlers be carrying out 15%, 20% or some other portion? I am concerned that space and cash flow limitations will cause many handlers to plan NOT to carry over this amount and they will put pressure on sales to reduce inventory.
Will the crop exceed or fall short of the 1.033 billion estimate. History leads us to expect more. We’ll have a good idea in Dec.
How will the 2008 pollination look in February? Some growers expect the trees to naturally back off after this big crop load. On the other hand, we will have the largest increase in new bearing acres in years—at least 70,000 acres more—more than a 10% increase.

Following are market prices—not much change from a week ago.
2006 crop August shipment 2007 crop Oct & later
Nonpareil Supreme 23/25 AOL $2.55 per lb. FOB California 2.25
Carmel SSR 23/25 AOL 2.20 1.90
Butte SSR 27/30 AOL 2.05 1.80
Cal Std unsized 5% 1.90 1.70
Nonpareil inshell 70% 1.55
Carmel inshell 60% 1.19
Peerless inshell 35% .75
Blanched Sliced 2.60 2.35

September prices are in between and will change each week as harvest gets going.

Harvest has begun. Shellers and processors are running the early receipts of 2007 crop and complaining about small sizes, which is usually a worry at the beginning of most large crops. Later we expect better sizing but for now most handlers are not willing to offer much larger than 25/27 sizes. Buyers will get what they need but may have to be patient for the offers. I expect to have a size distribution soon and will send it on request.

Please send comments and questions.

Best regards, Ned

Ned T. Ryan
PECAN MARKET UPDATE
July 27, 2007

The Texas Pecan Growers meeting was held and the two (2) estimates at that meeting were from Kenneth Pape and Kyle Brookshire. They are as follows:

Click to View
Cashews cause worse allergic response than peanuts

Fri Aug 10, 12:51 PM ET
NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Peanuts may be more notorious, but cashews seem to trigger more severe allergic reactions in children. In a study of 141 children with allergies to cashews or peanuts, British researchers found that cashew reactions were generally more serious.

For the study, led by Dr. Andrew T. Clark of Addenbrookes Hospital in Cambridge, 47 children with cashew allergy were matched up one-to-two with 94 children with peanut allergy. Children with cashew reactions were eight times more likely to suffer wheezing, and nearly 14 times more likely to have potentially severe cardiovascular symptoms, like heartbeat disturbances or a drop in blood pressure.
Overall, 10 of the children with cashew allergies had what the researchers defined as a severe reaction -- extreme difficulty breathing and/or loss of consciousness. That compared with just one child with peanut allergy.
The findings appear in the current issue of the journal Allergy.
It's known that tree nuts, such as cashews and walnuts, can trigger serious allergic reactions. However, this is the first study to show that children's allergies to cashews may be more severe than peanut allergies, according to Clark's team.
What's more, studies suggest that cashew allergies are becoming more common, possibly because consumption is on the rise.
Besides being eaten as whole cashews, the nuts are also found in a range of desserts and candies, in many Asian dishes and in commercially prepared pesto sauces, Clark and his colleagues note.
Other potential sources include cereals, granola bars, dressings and sauces, and even shampoos and lotions.
In general, people with an allergy to any tree nut are advised to avoid all tree nuts and peanuts as a precaution. Some people are prescribed injectable epinephrine that they can administer themselves in an emergency.
The current findings, Clark and his colleagues write, suggest that children with cashew allergies are at particular risk of severe reactions requiring epinephrine. They advise doctors to consider this when deciding whether to prescribe the emergency treatment.
SOURCE: Allergy, August 2007.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Delay in the launch of a mandatory pasteurization program for California almonds
A proposed delay in the launch of a mandatory pasteurization program for California almonds is not sitting well with nut processors gearing up for the expected Sept. 1 start.The Almond Board of California has requested that the U.S. Department of Food and Agriculture postpone the start of the program for six months, until March 1, to ensure the industry has met all the pasteurization steps required under the new law.Richard Waycott, president of the Modesto-based Almond Board of California, said the industry wasn't completely ready when it surveyed its members in August."We don't want the public to think we are stalling," Waycott said. "This is just taking us longer than we would like."The industry began the pasteurization effort several years ago after being rocked by two cases of salmonella contamination in the past five years. Both cases of salmonella outbreaks were linked to raw almonds.But some companies that have invested hundreds of thousands of dollars in pasteurization equipment designed to kill harmful bacteria say the delay is too long. Those companies would pasteurize the almonds as a service for growers."It is going to hurt us,"said George Tavernas of California Nut Co., near Turlock. "We have a big investment in this. We expected to make $300,000 to $400,000, and now we won't have that."Fresno County is one of the state's largest producers of almonds, with 99,300 total acres in 2006 valued at more than $494 million.As an industry, about 70 percent of the crop is exported. The remainder is sold domestically and will be subject to the new pasteurization rule.Source: dailybreeze.com

Monday, July 23, 2007

R.L.”Pete“ Turner July, 20, 2007



CALIFORNIA WALNUT MARKET/CROP REPORT

CROP:

The Walnut Marketing Board announced the June shipments at 20,863 inshell equivalent tons, 3,364 tons less than last year. Inshell shipments were 0.73 million pounds, 1.0 million pounds less than last June. Shelled shipments were 17.6 million pounds, 1.4 million pounds less than last year. Total inshell equivalent year to date shipments are 342,100 tons, 7,982 less than last year. However, the 2005 crop “shell out rate” (the inshell pounds required to produce shelled material) was adjusted down from 43.5% to 40.7%). I expect the 2006 crop “shell out rate” to be adjusted down from 42.9 to 40.5%.
All this means is that the 2006/07 shipments will show higher numbers once the adjustments takes place sometime in September.

Most leaders in the industry believe that the 2007 walnut crop will not reach last year’s crop tonnage (344,000 tons). This is based on an early bloom drop and lack of doubles and triples nutlets on Chandlers (45% of crop). In addition, the Visalia growers are reporting that the Serr’s tonnage (10% of crop) will be less than last year. However, there have been reports that the Hartley crop looks good and may come in the same or a little higher than last year.

Some walnut research experts believe the crop has been shorten by the lack of “chilling hours” and the extreme high temperatures last summer. Both may have affected the nut set. They believe the hot summer created excess catkins (male flowers) and when they are excessive, it takes energy away from the female bud (hey, I just report what I read).

In any event, the trees are lacking nut sets in almost all varieties especially Chandlers; however, Howard’s seem to be the only variety that may have a good crop.

In addition, some Lake County (northern) growers have lost their entire crop due to frost. As this is a light growing area; it will not have much effect on the overall crop tonnage.

As I reported earlier, the March 31, 2007 walnut inventories were well below estimates (lowest since 1998). In addition, I believe that the “shellout rate” will be below the 42.9 forecasted, which would put the 2006 crop year’s shipments well ahead of last year’s. I also believe the 2006 crop carry-over will be one of the lowest in recent history. Currently, my guess is 42,000 tons, 24,000 tons below last year’s very low carry-over.

I have adjusted my 2007 crop estimate from 370,000 tons to 350,000 tons, and most likely it will be below this level. It will be interesting to learn what the Packers/Growers forecast as the “subjective” estimate, which will be out last week of July.





MARKET:

The only thing I can report on the Inshell market is there is no market. The inventories have been depleted and with very little trading because of low inventories. The last Jumbo Hartley sales that I am aware of were $1.15.

The Shelled market remains firm and trading activity has also dropped due to availability. However, Light Halves and Pieces have been trading at $3.50 to $3.60 and 85% Light Haves at $3.80. Combination Halves and Pieces recently traded at $3.40. Baker material has been trading at the $2.70 levels. Medium and Small Piece material is $0.05 to $0.20 higher than the larger material (Halves and Pieces). Topping and Smaller material is higher with the final pricing depending on customer grade and requirements.

Because of the current inventory situation and the not so encouraging early reports on the 2007 crop, I believe the industry will face serious challenges meeting future demands. However, I believe we will continue to maintain market discipline regardless of the crop and inventory situation. To help keep our focus, all we have to do is look what has and is happening in the Almond industry.

Let me know if you have any questions or comments……!

Pete

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Fancy Food Show observation


Everyone is concerned about product safety and the impact it has had on various industries. At the Fancy Food Show in New York, I came across a new organization that was formed to address this problem. I was impressed to see that someone has taken a proactive stand to address these issues in the cashew industry which are sure to surface probably sooner rather than later. As an active participant in the industry, David Rosenthal understands the challenges we face and is prepared to address them in a proactive manner. He does not come across as someone who is out to expose his industry in order to cause upheaval - rather his agenda is to address the situation before it becomes an issue. This is a refreshing - as opposed to other industries that have initiated change only when forced to as a result of an unfortunate incident that results in a scandal.

Check out www.cashewconcern.com

I am happy to see someone who has the courage to come out and identify problems and offer a solution to make improvements from within, rather than waiting for an incident to take place that could cause the government to come down on us with a heavy hand resulting in a serious impact on the nut industry.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007


Wisconsin cranberry crop looks good
The cranberry crop looks good in Wisconsin. Tod Planer with the Wisconsin Cranberry Growers Association says the crop actually got a slow start due to the cold weather earlier this year but once it broke dormancy, it caught-up quickly. “We’re just coming out of bloom, the potential looks really good,” says Planer, “I think we’ve got a real good potential for a good crop this year.”Weeds are always a problem for cranberry growers but Planer says a couple of new herbicides have come on the market this year to help out. They did loose another product to help in the fight against insects but, “Our cold weather and our icing our plants tend to reduce insect problems compared to the East and West Coasts.” Cranberry growers have lost a number of pesticides over the past few years as companies did not sell enough of those products to justify the financial investment for recertification. Growers chipped-in to help pay for some of the recertification.The cranberry market has evolved substantially over the past few years. The industry was plagued by oversupply a few years ago but a combination of producer effort and government programs worked that surplus down. In fact, growers are now looking at pushing production a little higher in the next decade. “We may see some increase per acre in yield, we may see some additional acreage going in, probably not the massive push we saw in the ‘80s and ‘90s, but I think it’s an upward trend right now,” says Planer. Part of that production increase will come from newer, higher yielding varieties being put in beds.In fact, Planer is quite optimistic about the future of the Wisconsin cranberry industry. The Badger State is already the nation’s top producer and he sees that position solidifying as high land prices and development push more acres in Massachusetts out of production. Ocean Spray, the major player in the industry, is expanding the former Northland Cranberries juice processing facility in Wisconsin Rapids, Planer says that is a major “Shot-in-the-arm,” for the Wisconsin industry. He also predicts strong growth in the dried cranberry demand.Source: brownfieldnetwork.com

Tuesday, June 26, 2007



May 24, 2007
TO: PTNPA Active and Associate MembersFROM: Russell E. Barker, President & CEOSUBJECT: Watching for Iffy Imports
Skimpy U.S. Inspection Resources Are Raising Concerns
Tainted food imports from China have stirred anxiety among U.S. consumers, but how safe is the food sent here by other countries?
It's a complicated picture, made even more so because the amount of food we get from outside the United States is increasing rapidly. From 2002 to 2006, the value of China's food exports to the United States -- agricultural products plus seafood -- more than doubled, from $2.7 billion to $6.1 billion, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. During that same period, total food imports to this country rose from $42 billion to $65 billion.
In a perfect world, exporting countries would carefully watch for hazards, and the United States would have a good system of safety backups.
As a rule, more-developed countries such as Japan, Canada and the 27 members of the European Union have strict inspection procedures akin to those in the United States, as does Mexico, a North American Free Trade Agreement partner, a USDA spokesman said.
But countries in Asia and Latin America were accused of importing potentially risky farm-raised seafood in a report last month by the consumer advocacy group Food and Water Watch. Titled "Import Alert," the report stated that many fish farms in those regions control fish disease and parasites with antibiotics and chemicals that leave residues and are banned in the United States. The group said the Food and Drug Administration's inspections of imported fish are lax.
No one has a country-by-country scorecard. In interviews, experts suggested that imported-food safety is a crapshoot because no country can examine every batch of every product. What's more, when bacteria contaminate a crop or production lot -- as with California spinach last year -- only part of the output is affected. Then, too, many people can eat bad food and not get sick.
The USDA maintains strict controls over imports of meat, poultry and eggs, requiring that all importing countries have inspection systems equivalent to ours. That equivalency is determined through a lengthy process of reports, overseas inspections and audits, said Karen Stuck, an assistant administrator in the USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service's Office of International Affairs.
"Next, the country has to tell us which individual plants are operating at an equivalent level to the U.S.," she said. After those plants are certified, the USDA "will certify each individual shipment as eligible to enter the U.S."
The USDA also has inspectors at ports of entry examining shipments and documents, Stuck said, and agency workers visit foreign countries for annual on-site audits. For fruits and other commodities prone to insect infestation, the USDA requires shippers in all countries or their American importers to obtain permits that force compliance with certain conditions -- for example, the use of methods such as irradiation to eliminate weevils in mangoes grown in India.
Foods other than meat, poultry and eggs fall under the FDA's purview. When one of those items arrives at a U.S. port or border, it must come from a facility registered with the agency. The sender must provide details about the type of product, origin, destination and more. On the basis of that data, the FDA decides whether to allow or refuse the merchandise. Reasons for refusal can include mislabeling, filth, pesticide residues and harmful bacteria. At present, any plant-related food originating in China is being detained until the agency receives test results from an independent laboratory showing that the product meets U.S. standards.
The FDA inspects very few of the shipments subject to its review: fewer than 1 percent in 2006, and that level is shrinking. It was 1.5 percent in 1997 and is predicted to fall to 0.7 percent this year. That's because while import volume is growing, the staff of inspectors is not, a spokesman explained.
The agency rarely visits other countries to inspect plants or products. David Acheson, the FDA's newly appointed assistant commissioner for food protection, said the agency "dispatches teams to foreign countries when there is a problem." To illustrate, he said: "We sent inspectors to China. We had three people there for a couple of weeks. We have had teams in Mexico dealing with cantaloupes and salmonella. We have had teams in Italy because of botulinum toxin in olives."
Acheson said that in his new job, created in response to the recent incidents of contaminated domestic and foreign food, he is developing an "integrated" food safety plan that would consolidate work now scattered among different offices and put strong emphasis on prevention.
The FDA cannot emulate the USDA's equivalency requirements, Acheson said. "It is difficult to demonstrate what is equivalent for all the products FDA regulates. Often in foreign countries, products may be under different agencies, so we have to work with different agencies in any given country."
The FDA's skimpy resources for its food inspection duties have spurred industry and consumer advocates to press Congress to give the agency more money. Given the China situation, "maybe Congress will believe us," said Jenny Scott, a vice president for the Food Products Association trade group.