Friday, November 21, 2008
WALNUT MARKET/CROP REPORT
The Walnut Marketing Board announced the October shipments at 75,812 inshell equivalent tons; 7,226 tons less than last year. Inshell shipments were 77.5 million pounds, compared to 76.9 million pounds last October. Shelled shipments were 32.0 million pounds, 6.2 million pounds less than last year. Total inshell equivalent year to date shipments are 95,406 tons; compared to 105,632 tons, down 10% from last year.
We will not know the final crop tonnage for several more months, but most industry leaders believe the crop will come in close to the 375,000 ton forecasted. Some packers feel the crop may be above the forecast as mid-crop receiving’s were very heavy compared to last year. However, this would have been the case anyway as the forecasted tonnage was up over 50,000 tons and the fact that the industry continues to loose the early crop varieties which have been replaced by Chandler’s, Howard’s and Tulare’s which are all mid-crop varieties. Thus, about 65% of the crop is being harvested and trucked to the packers over a 2-3 week period. This not only puts constraints on harvest/ hullers; but ultimately, on the plants and their processing facilities.
The quality of the 2008 crop is excellent with more than average Light material. The light kernel on the Chandlers, Howards, Tulare’s and Hartley’s appear to be above average as well as above average yields on almost all varieties.
The 2008 crop was 7-10 days later than last year which put even more pressure on the packers to meet vessel dates. In addition, there was a lot of questions on the availability of containers and vessels which added to the challenge. However, something must have gone right, as the industry shipped 77.5 million pounds of Inshell in October which is slightly more than we shipped last October.
In my more than I want to remember years in the walnut industry, I have never seen a walnut market that compares (so far) to what has impacted us during the past month or so.
First, the market for Chandler Light Halves & Pieces opened at $3.55 and Jumbo Hartley at $1.45, which was readily accepted by the buyers. Sales were brisk and forward bookings were heavy and the only challenge was getting containers and booking space on vessels.
Then, as some would say, the perfect storm hit. As with other businesses, our industry was hit extremely hard by the sudden collapse of the world financial institutions which put tight credit limits on buyers. The walnut market basically shut down and buyers had to set on the sidelines as they had no resources to conduct their business.
The markets quickly weaken with Chandlers Light Walnuts Halves and Pieces dropping from the $3.55 opening prices to $2.55 within a span of two weeks. However, Inshell Hartley’s bookings remained strong and only dropped about $0.05. Packers were facing not only the biggest crop in history, but had very few buyers to reduce their inventories. Thus, packers marketing strategy was almost solely based on their inventory positions.
This created a situation where some customers demanded adjustments to early contracts and some just walked away from their commitments. This has created some bitter relationships between seller and buyer, which is not a good formula for good business.
But, it now seems the market has finally bottomed out and bookings and shipments have been very active this week. In addition, the domestic market has picked up and as the walnuts prices are more favorable, bakeries, confectionery, and re-baggers are starting to add walnuts back into their mixes. I believe the domestic market will be stronger than it has been during several years of higher pricing. In addition, it is believed that the walnut market will stay around the current levels for the next several years. This will give the domestic users the confidence to establish longer market strategy for their products that contain walnuts.
The current market is still a little cloudy but most bookings on Chandler LHP is close to $2.35, regular LHP at $2.25 and CHP at $2.15, and Jumbo Hartley’s at $1.35. There have been sales at lower pricing but most of these seem to have disappeared over the past week.
I believe our industry is over most of the financial troubles and I see a more stable market going forward. We have not lost any Inshell sales as Italy, Germany and Spain are purchasing as heavy as ever. Turkey continues to purchase Inshell Chandlers and is 2.3 million pounds ahead of last year. Right now, Korea seems to be the only country to be purchasing less than at this same time last year.
Please let me know if you have any questions or comments,
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
George Rogers has been growing cranberries for 33 years, but has never seen anything like this season. “It’s our biggest crop ever,” said Rogers, senior vice president for the Wareham based A.D. Makepeace Company, the world’s largest cranberry grower. “We had good weather, little pests, just a good growing season that is up ten percent from last year. All the stars were aligned this year and a lot of people had a record crop. I won’t be surprised if Massachusetts overall has a record crop,” he said. Like most growers throughout the region, Rogers said the successful harvest could not have come at a better time because many growers were starting to “dip” into reserves.Back in 2000, an imbalance of supply and demand caused the cranberry industry to crash, with growers receiving only $12 per barrel. One barrel equals 100 pounds.Rogers said 2008 projections are estimated at $60 per barrel.Robert Beams, vice president of Agricultural Supply Development at Ocean Spray’s Middleboro facility agreed this year’s crop was outstanding.Ocean Spray is a farmer-owned cooperative, with about 650 fresh fruit growers throughout the U.S., British Columbia and Quebec, the majority being cranberry growers.About 25 percent of Ocean Spray’s cranberries came from Massachusetts.Last year, Ocean Spray’s Massachusetts’ crops produced 1.5 million barrels.The preliminary projections show 2.25 million barrels for 2008.Ocean Spray berries picked in 2006 sold for $47.69 per barrel, and those picked in 2007 sold for $54 per barrel, a 13.2 percent increase.Like A.D. Makpeace, Ocean Spray’s projections are also $60 per barrel for the 2008 season.“It was just an enormous crop for Massachusetts,” Beams said.“It’s a bit of a surprise for many of us. We’re still waiting to see how big the industry’s crop is as a whole because there’s generally about another million barrels out there that we don’t know about yet. All the fruit handlers report inventories to the Cranberry Marketing Committee and the next report won’t come out until January, so we can’t tell yet exactly how large the crop was this year.” Cranberries are harvested in the fall from mid-September through November.Most are wet harvested, which means growers flood the cranberry bogs and use machines that loosen the cranberries from the vine.With small air pockets in their center, cranberries float to the water’s surface where they are gathered.Jack Angley, owner of Carver’s Flax Pond Farm, has been dry harvesting cranberries for 47 years on his 35-acre farm.He makes up about only 5-percent of North America’s dry harvesters, which use mechanical pickers that comb over the berries and gather them in a burlap bag.“Dry harvesting has quite a few challenges to maintain for a quality environment. The vines can’t grow too thick to allow the machines to go through them,” Angley said.“The quality of my berries, color are beautiful this year, but a weed problem did set me back so this wasn’t my biggest crop this year.” Organic cranberry grower, Kristine Reese, co-owner of Cranberry Hill Farm in Plymouth, met the same challenges as Angley, but said the organic cranberry market is steadily improving.“It was a great year for us in terms of weather conditions, but we don’t use fertilizers and chemicals, so it was also a good year for weeds and we do all our weeding done by hand.More good weather, means more work for us,” she said. Source: enterprisenews.com
Publication date: 11/18/2008
Publication date: 11/18/2008
Friday, November 14, 2008
The leaves, bark, roots, fruit and seeds of Indian almond have been used to effectively reverse blood sugar regulating functions in damaged pancreas of diabetics, prolong ejaculation, stop the spread of lung cancer, and sickle cell anaemia. CHUKWUMA MUANYA reports.
RECENT studies have shown that diabetes and its attendant complications (erectile dysfunction/premature ejaculation, leg ulcer/gangrene, liver/ kidney failure), lung cancer and sickle cell anaemia can be addressed with extracts of Indian almond.
Nigerian and Indian researchers have regenerated the pancreas with Indian almond extracts thereby boosted blood sugar regulation, improved sexual and liver/kidney functions in diabetics.
Diabetes Mellitus (DM) is a chronic disease caused by inherited and/or acquired deficiency in production of insulin by the pancreas, or by ineffectiveness of insulin produced, such a deficiency results in increased concentration of glucose in the blood, which in turn damages many of the body's systems in particular the blood vessels and nerves.
Indian almond is botanically called Terminalia catappa and belongs to the plant family combretaceae. It is found in almost every town and village in Southern Nigeria. In Efik, it is called m_b�_s__ m_b�k�r� (groundnut of whiteman). It is also known as Malabar Almond, Tropical Almond, Fruit (by some Nigerians).
Indian almond is a large deciduous stately tree, originally from India, growing up to 90 feet. It thrives as an ornamental tree in many tropical cities in the world.
All parts of the plant (leaves, bark, roots, fruit and wood) are used in traditional medicine, such as in dysentery; dressing of rheumatic joints; treating coughs, asthma. The fruit may be helpful in treatment of leprosy, headaches, in reducing travel nausea. Leaves have been used to get rid of intestinal parasites; treat eye problems, rheumatism, wounds; and stop the bleeding during teeth extraction.
Indian almond has strong antibacterial properties and works against Gram positive and Gram negative micro-organisms. The leaves have been shown to protect against acute liver injury produced by some hepatotoxicants (chemicals that produce liver damage). .
In Nigeria fallen leaves are used as an herb to treat liver diseases. The leaves also have potential in the management of sickle cell disorders. Dried leaves are used for fish pathogen treatment, as an alternative to the use of chemicals and antibiotics.
Leaves have antioxidant as well as anti-clastogenic (preventing breakage of chromosomes) properties. Research suggests that moderate consumption of the seed kernel may be useful in the treatment of men with sexual dysfunctions, primarily from premature ejaculation.
The various extracts of leaves and bark of the plant have also been reported to be anticancer, antioxidant, anti-Human Immuno-deficiency Virus (HIV) reverse transcriptase, and anti inflammatory (painkiller).
According to The Useful Plants of Tropical West Africa by H. M. Burkill, the bark is used in Asian medicine as an astringent for dysentery. It has also been recommended for use as a decoction for gonorrhoea and leucorrhoea, bilious fever and stomach-cramp. The tree yields an insoluble gum of the bassoin type. The leaves and flowers also contain tannin, and the presence of a sterol is reported. In the Philippines and S India sap from young leaves is made into an ointment for scabies, leprosy and other cutaneous diseases.
The leaves when applied externally are refreshing and sudorific, and appear to exercise an anodynal effect on pain for they are used for headache, on rheumatic joints, or in an oily ointment for breast-pain.
In Nigeria, the leaves macerated in palm oil have been used as a remedy for tonsilitis. Leaf in Java has shown some antibiotic activity. The fruit contains six to 20 per cent tannin. The fleshy pericarp is eaten in Gabon. The kernel is edible, and has a very subtle flavour making it a delicacy. The husk however is tough, not amenable to separation, so that the kernel is difficult to obtain. The kernel contains 51-63 per cent of a fixed oil known as Indian Almond oil, oil of Badamier, or from the Philippines as Talisay oil.
Material from Cote d'Ivoire has been analysed to contain glycerides of palmitic acid 34.4 per cent, oleic acid 32.1 per cent, linoleic acid 27.5 per cent and stearic acid six per cent. It closely resembles sweet almond, cotton seed, kapok and ground nut oils, which it might substitute for dietetic and other industrial uses.
Indian researchers in a study titled "Anti-Diabetic Activity of Terminalia catappa Linn. Leaf Extracts in Alloxan-Induced Diabetic Rats" found that Terminalia catappa leaves extracts have anti-diabetic activity.
According to the study published in Asian Journal of Pharmacology, aqueous and cold extracts of Terminalia catappa exhibited significant anti- hyperglycemic (reduces blood sugar) activities in alloxan-induced hyperglycemic rats without significant change in body weight. Alloxan is a drug used to induce diabetes in animal models.
The researchers found that Indian almond extracts also improved conditions of DM as indicated by parameters like bodyweight, and lipid profiles along with serum creatinine (a chemical molecule that is present in the liquid portion of the blood), serum urea, and serum alkaline phosphatase. The lipid profile is a group of tests that are often ordered together to determine risk of coronary heart disease. Serum urea level is a biochemical indicator of protein metabolism. Serum alkaline phosphatase is a measure of the integrity of the hepatobiliary system and the flow of bile into the small intestine.
The researchers, which include Syed Mansoor Ahmed, Vrushabendra Swamy B.M., P Gopkumar R Dhanapl and V.M. Chandrashekara noted that the number of functionally intact _-cells in the islet organ is of decisive importance the development course and outcome of DM. Beta cells (beta-cells, _-cells) are a type of cell in the pancreas in areas called the islets of Langerhans. They make up 65-80 per cent of the cells in the islets. Beta cells make and release insulin, a hormone that controls the level of glucose in the blood.
The renewal of _-cells in diabetes has been studied in several animal models. The total _-cell mass reflects the balance between the renewal and loss of these cells. It was also suggested that regeneration of islet _-cells following destruction by alloxan may be the primary cause of the recovery of alloxan - injected guinea pigs from the effects of the drug.
In alloxan-induced diabetes, (-)-epicatechin and Vinca rosea extract have also shown to act by _-cell re-generation. Epicatechin is a strong antioxidant, has insulin mimic action and improves heart health. Similar effect in streptozotacin-treated diabetic animals was reported by pancreas tonic, ephedrine, and Gymnema Sylvestre leaf extracts.
The researchers observed damage to pancreas in alloxan-treated diabetic control, and regeneration of _-cells by glibenclamide. Glibenclamide (INN), also known as glyburide (USAN), is an anti-diabetic drug in a class of medications known as sulfonylureas, used in the treatment of type II diabetes. A comparable regeneration was also shown by aqueous and cold extracts of Terminalia catappa. This effect may be due to _-carotene (an antioxidant found in coloured fruits and vegetables. It is a precursor to vitamin A), which was reported to be constituents of Terminalia catappa.
The beneficial role of _-carotene in reducing diabetic complications like glycosylation in alloxan-induced diabetic rats had been reported previously. Glycosylation is the enzymatic process that links saccharides to produce glycans, either free or attached to proteins and lipids.
Photomicrographical data in the researchers studies confirm healing of pancreas by Terminalia catappa leaves extracts, as a plausible mechanism of their anti diabetic activity.
The researchers concluded: "Aqueous and cold extract of Terminalia catappa leaves exhibited significant anti hyperglycemic activities in alloxan-induced diabetic rats. These extracts showed improvement in parameters like body weight and lipid profile as well as regeneration of _-cells of pancreas and so might be of value in diabetes treatment."
Taiwanese researchers have also found that Indian almond stops the spread of lung cancer in animal models.
Shu-Chen Chu, Shun-Fa Yang, Shang-Jung Liu, Wu-Hsien Kuo, Yan-Zin Chang and Yih-Shou Hsieh in a study titled "In vitro and in vivo antimetastatic effects of Terminalia catappa L. leaves on lung cancer cells" investigated the effect of the extract of T. catappa leaves (TCE) on invasion and motility of tumor cells to find that TCE exerted a dose-dependent inhibitory effect on the invasion and motility of highly metastatic A549 and Lewis lung carcinoma (LLC) cells.
Metastasis is the spread of a disease from one organ or part to another non-adjacent organ or part. Only malignant tumor cells and infections have the capacity to metastasize. Metastatic disease is a synonym of metastasis. Cancer cells can "break away", "leak", or "spill" from a primary tumor, enter lymphatic and blood vessels, circulate through the bloodstream, and settle down to grow within normal tissues elsewhere in the body. Metastasis is one of three hallmarks of malignancy (contrast benign tumors).
According to the study published in Food and Chemical Toxicology, to further investigate the precise involvement of TCE in tumor metastasis, A549 and LLC cells were treated with TCE at various concentrations, up to 100 _g/mL, for a specified period and results from zymography and Western blotting showed that a TCE treatment may decrease the expressions of tissue inhibitors, in a concentration-dependent manner.
Zymography is used for the detection of enzyme activity. Western blot analysis can detect one protein in a mixture of any number of proteins while giving information about the size of the protein.
Furthermore, the inhibitory effect of TCE on the growth and metastasis of LLC cells in vivo was proven. These results indicated that TCE could be applied to be a potential antimetastatic agent.
Researchers have also assessed the biological value of Terminalia catappa seed meal-based diet in rats. Nasir O. Muhammad and Oyelola B. Oloyede of the Department of Biochemistry, University of Ilorin, investigated the effects of defatted the seed meal on the growth performance and carcass of rats.
According to the study published in Biokemistri, 12 weaning albino rats (Rattus norvegicus) with an average weight of 24.0 � 3.4g were maintained on diets composed of defatted T. catappa seed meal (Tc meal) and soybean meal (control) for six weeks.
The weights of the rats were monitored on weekly basis, at the same period of the day and before being served the (weighing) day's feed. The organs and carcasses of the rats were weighed after they were sacrificed and disemboweled, and the chemical compositions of the carcasses were also determined.
The body weights of the rats maintained on defatted Tc meal were significantly reduced to one-third of the weights of the control animal. The organ to body weight ratio of the Tc meal rats was significantly higher than that of the control.
In the carcass of rats fed Tc meal diet, ether extract, crude protein and ash contents were significantly reduced when compared with the control. However, the crude fibre and the nitrogen free extract (NFE) were significantly higher in the Tc meal rats than that of the control.
The researchers concluded: "It can be deduced that the defatted Terminalia catappa seed meal could cause depression in growth rate, enlargement of rat tissues with adverse effects on carcass of rats."
Researchers have also studied the effects of Terminalia catappa seeds on sexual behaviour and fertility of male rats.
W. D. Ratnasooriya and M. G. Dharmasiri of the Department of Zoology, University of Colombo, Sri Lanka, evaluated the aphrodisiac potential of Terminalia catappa seeds using a suspension of its kernel (SS) in one per cent methylcellulose in rats. Methyl cellulose (or methylcellulose) is a chemical compound derived from cellulose. It is a hydrophilic white powder in pure form and dissolves in cold (but not in hot) water, forming a clear viscous solution or gel.
Preliminary chemical testing showed the presence of alkaloids, oils, amino acids and peptides in the seed kernel.
According to the study published in Asian Journal of Andrology, male rats were orally treated with 1500 mg/kg or 3000 mg/kg SS or vehicle, and their sexual behaviour was monitored three hours later using a receptive female. Another group of rats was orally treated with either 3000 mg/kg SS or vehicle for seven consecutive days. Their sexual behaviour and fertility were evaluated on days one, four and seven of treatment and day seven post-treatment by pairing overnight with a pro-oestrous female. The estrous cycle comprises the recurring physiologic changes that are induced by reproductive hormones in most mammalian placental females.
The results showed the 1500 mg/kg dose, had a marked aphrodisiac action (prolongation of ejaculation latency) but no effect on libido-sexual desire- (per cent mounting, per cent intromission and per cent ejaculation), sexual vigour (mounting-and-intromission frequency), or sexual performance (intercopulatory interval). An aphrodisiac is a substance, which is used in the belief that it increases sexual desire.
In contrast, the higher dose (3000 mg/kg) reversibly inhibited all the parameters of sexual behaviour other than mounting-and-intromission frequency and copulatory efficiency. The effects of high dose SS were not due to general toxicity, liver toxicity, haemotoxicity, stress, muscle deficiency, muscle incoordination, analgesia, hypoglycaemia (reduced blood sugar) or reduction in blood testosterone level. They were due to marked sedation.
The researchers concluded that the kernel of T. catappa seeds has aphrodisiac activity and may be useful in the treatment of certain forms of sexual inadequacies, such as premature ejaculation. "The present findings show that seeds of T. catappa possess potent aphrodisiac activity and provides scientific evidence in favour of the claims made in Ayurvedic medicine in Sri Lanka regarding this action. The results also suggest that moderate consumption of kernel of seed of T. catappa could be useful in the treatment of men with sexual dysfunctions resulting primarily from premature ejaculation."
Nigerian researchers have also studied the anti-sickling activity of Terminalia catappa leaves harvested at different stages of growth.
The researchers include: J. O. Moody, F. I. Segun and O. Aderounmu Department of Pharmacognosy, Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Ibadan; and O. O. Omotade, Institute of Child Health, University College Hospital, Ibadan.
According to the study published in the Nigerian Journal of Natural Products and Medicine, the aqueous and ethanolic leaf extracts of Terminalia catappa, a fruit bearing tree, popular in folkloric medicine for the treatment of sickle cell anaemia disease were assessed for their in-vitro anti-sickling activities. Extracts were prepared from the reddish-brown freshly fallen leaves, reddish-brown leaves and green leaves of the plant by maceration in the solvents.
Phytochemical examination of the extracts showed that cardiac glycosides are present in abundance in the reddish-brown freshly fallen leaves, moderate in the reddish-brown leaves and in trace amount in the green leaves. High concentration of saponin was however observed in the green leaves, while only present in trace amount in the reddish-brown leaves and absent in the reddish-brown freshly fallen leaves. Alkaloids were detected present in all the three samples of the leaves but anthraquinones and tannins were completely absent.
Antisickling activities of the extracts obtained from leaves harvested at different stages of growth (green leaves, reddish-brown leaves, reddish-brown freshly fallen leaves) were evaluated using p- hydroxybenzoic acid, (5mg/ml) and normal saline as controls. The method employed involved the inhibition of sodium metabisulphite-induced sickling of HbSS red blood cells collected from confirmed non-crisis sickle cell patients.
The researchers concluded that both the aqueous and ethanolic leaf extracts of the reddish-brown freshly fallen leaf exhibited highest anti-sickling activity (78 per cent inhibition at 180 min incubation and 77 per cent inhibition at 90 minutes incubation respectively).
Nigerian researchers have also studied the antimicrobial activities of methanolic extracts of Terminalia catappa against some pathogenic microorganisms
H. Babayi of the Department of Biological Sciences, Federal University of Technology, Minna; and I. Kolo, J. I. Okogun and U. J. J. Ijah of the Pharmaceutical Microbiology Division, National Institute for Pharmaceutical Research and Development (NIPRD), Idu - Abuja, investigated the ethanolic extracts of leaves of Eucalyptus camaldulensis and Terminalia catappa for in vitro microbial activities by agar dilution method.
The phytochemical analysis of the crude extracts of the medicinal plants revealed the presence of saponin, saponin glycosides, steroid, cardiac glycoside, tannins, volatile oils, phenols and balsam (gum). The methanolic extracts of the two plants inhibited the growth of Bacillus subtilis and Staphylococcus aureus (ATCC 103207 and Clinical strain respectively) but had no inhibitory effects on Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Salmonella typhi and Escherichia coli.
Staphylococcus aureus is the most common cause of staph infections. It is a spherical bacterium, frequently found in the nose and skin of a person. About 20 per cent of the population are long-term carriers of S. aureus. S. aureus can cause a range of illnesses from minor skin infections, such as pimples, impetigo (may also be caused by Streptococcus pyogenes), boils, cellulitis folliculitis, furuncles, carbuncles, scalded skin syndrome and abscesses, to life-threatening diseases such as pneumonia, meningitis, osteomyelitis endocarditis, Toxic shock syndrome (TSS), and septicemia. Its incidence is from skin, soft tissue, respiratory, bone, joint, endovascular to wound infections. It is still one of the four most common causes of nosocomial infections, often causing postsurgical wound infections.
Bacillus subtilis is a Gram-positive, catalase-positive bacterium commonly found in soil. B. subtilis is not considered a human pathogen; it may contaminate food but rarely causes food poisoning
Monday, November 10, 2008
Cashew market was quiet this week. Prices came down a few cents mainly due to lack of activity. At the lower levels, very limited business is being done by a few processors for nearbys e.g. W240 from 2.65 to 2.75, W320 from 2.35 to 2,.45 FOB. Large packers were asking few cents more for nearbys (and also forwards). Stray business was done at the higher levels
Very small quantities have been purchased in this week’s tenders in Tanzania, mainly by local processors. RCN traders and Indian processors are not showing interest as the price expected (over US$ 1000) is high – about 20/25 cents disparity with current kernel prices, Indonesia RCN prices have inched up a bit – current quotes are around US$ 900 C&F
Shipments from India & Vietnam in third quarter have been good but there are no reports of any excess inventories in USA / Europe (of course the tightness of first half is not there but supplies are not as comfortable as they were for a few weeks in Aug/Sep). Financial restraints are adding to the need to control inventories
Fundamentally, current prices should be comfortable for all segments as they are near the historical average (of course we have seen lower prices several times in the past for long periods but since then, processing costs have gone up and prices of all commodities have moved on to higher ranges. Also, purchasing power in general – except for the recent past – has been higher than it was when prices were below 2.00 dollars). So, one would expect prices to stabilise and maybe even move up a bit but the external factors like the financial turmoil, general downturn in major economies, currency volatility, lack of confidence & reduced position taking in all segments of the chain are having a “pull down” effect on demand & prices of almost everything (especially lower priority products) in the short & medium term
The potential for a significant move in prices in late 2008 / early 2009 is strong.. But it is difficult to predict which way things will go. If drop in usage in fourth quarter is not as bad as expected and if economic situation settles down, we could see a lot of buying interest in first quarter for deliveries second quarter onwards because everybody is working with thin inventories and forward cover. But if the problems we have seen in Sep/Oct continue into 2009 then buying interest will continue to be slow & for nearby positions only
Would appreciate your comments on the market situation, any special news or info and your views / expectation of demand & price trends in coming weeks / months
Pankaj N. Sampat
Thursday, November 06, 2008
The 2008 North American Cranberry harvest has just finished, and here is what we know so far:
Wisconsin – Very good
Massachusetts – Excellent
Quebec/Eastern Canada – Average
Pacific Northwest – Poor to Fair
Overall, we believe that this will mean a reasonable amount of fruit should be available for the coming year. It is not a record crop, but not a disaster either.
We should be able to quote new crop prices in 2-3 weeks.
Many thanks for the opportunity to be of service.
Friday, September 05, 2008
Almond harvest remained underway. Some groves were still being irrigated. Walnut orchards were being prepared for harvest. Some walnut groves were also irrigated. Treatments for husk fly and mites continued in some areas.
Tuesday, August 26, 2008
Monday, August 25, 2008
UPDATE ON GEORGIA ACREAGE – Peanut Farm Market News had reported 653,156 acres, two percent higher than the estimated 640,000 acres from the 2008 peanut acreage estimate. FSA reported this week that some counties were late and now the certified acreage number is 684,680 acres, almost a 7% increase above the estimate and 31.6% above last year. This number could change again until about September 1. Top 10 counties on acreage are:
Worth – 33,902; Mitchell - 32,192; Decatur – 26,199; Early -25,892; Dooly – 24,711; Irwin - 24,477; Bulloch - 24,040; Coffee - 23,223; Miller – 22,943; and Colquitt - 21,880.
– Tropical Storm Fay pounded the Florida peanut belt and finally started moving its slow trek West across North Florida bringing lots of rain to the Florida Panhandle, Southern Georgia, Southern South Carolina and Southern Alabama. Some parts of Florida received over 2 feet. The impact on peanuts is unknown, but drainage should be quick since the area was so dry and many farmers hope to get back to harvest next week. The rains should help the peanut crop, provided the peanuts can drain. Harvest in Georgia and Alabama has not started, likely after Labor Day.
UPDATE ON GEORGIA ACREAGE – Peanut Farm Market News had reported 653,156 acres, two percent higher than the estimated 640,000 acres from the 2008 peanut acreage estimate. FSA reported this week that some counties were late and now the certified acreage number is 684,680 acres, almost a 7% increase above the estimate and 31.6% above last year. This number could change again until about September 1. Top 10 counties on acreage are:
Worth – 33,902; Mitchell - 32,192; Decatur – 26,199; Early -25,892; Dooly – 24,711; Irwin - 24,477; Bulloch - 24,040; Coffee - 23,223; Miller – 22,943; and Colquitt - 21,880.
Thursday, August 14, 2008
Millions of pounds of pecans were shipped to China this year... which gave farmers in Georgia an unexpected boost in business. But as Eyewitness Reporter Kim Carapucci explains, this new demand from abroad will dramatically affect prices here in the U.S.
Some say pecan, others say pe-can. But either way, one thing's for sure... these nuts are about to get pricey.
Paul Joseph is the manager of the South Georgia Pecan Company gift shop. "You'll probably see a 10-15% increase in the price of pecans."Joseph has been in the pecan business for over 24 years and says he's never seen anything like this before."It's just simple economics with supply and demand. With China's demand going up three-fold this year over last year, it's just gonna put a lot more pressure here in the U.S."
Next year, the pecan crop is predicted to yield only half as much as last year...And with less supply and more demand, the price will only rise.Which is good news for farmers, but bad news for buyers.
Buck Paulk owns one of the largest pecan groves in South Georgia."We see expanding our market as a good thing. So I can't see any justification where it would be..anytime there's an increase in demand for your product that it could be anything but good."
Paul Joseph: "We're definitely concerned because people are having to spend so much money now for gas and necessities . Pecans are almost gonna be a luxury item this year and people probably won't buy as many."
Luxury or not, people will be shelling out more cash for these shelled nuts.
The prices are expected to rise by fall, so if you have a taste for pecans, you might want to buy them now.
Find this article at: http://www.wctv.tv/news/headlines/26936864.html
Wednesday, August 13, 2008
Exports of California almonds soared for the marketing year just closed, according to the Almond Board of California, Modesto, Calif. Almonds soared to new all-time records, indicating continued strong global demand.
Record shipments accompany the industry’s largest crop ever. 1.38 billion pounds of almonds, 24 percent more than the previous year, were harvested during 2007.
Total worldwide shipments grew by 18 percent over the prior crop year to reach 1.26 billion pounds. Specifically, shipments within the U.S. rose 7.2 percent to reach 394.8 million pounds. The U.S. is the largest single market for California almonds. Domestic shipments accounted for 31 percent share versus 69 percent for export shipments.
Almond shipments to overseas markets increased to 866.4 million pounds, up 24 percent over the previous year, led by strong growth in Europe, Asia and the Middle East. Notably, almond exports have achieved new monthly records for the past 13 consecutive months.
Western Europe and Asia remained the top two export destinations on a regional basis, with shares of 54 percent and 23 percent respectively. Exports to Western Europe grew 24 percent over the previous year, while exports to Asia grew 20 percent, driven by strong demand in markets such as India, China and Korea where new shipment highs were recorded. In terms of individual markets, the top five export destinations were Spain, Germany, India, Japan and China.
“The growers and handlers of California almonds have set the stage for this unprecedented growth with forward-thinking, strategically sound programs administered by the Almond Board of California. From the research in the field aimed at creating a more sustainable environment for growing almonds to the investment in research to understand almond nutritional benefits, the entire almond community has been focused on making record crops and record demand a reality,” said Almond Board President Richard Waycott. “In fact, almonds continue to be the second most frequently used nut worldwide for new nut product introductions and if demand continues to grow at this rate, almonds will become the number one nut for global new product introductions in 2008.”
Find this article at: http://www.westernfarmpress.com/tree-nut-crops/almond-shipments-0812/index.html
Tuesday, August 05, 2008
Cashew market undertone has been steady this week – although there was very little activity, prices are holding up and there is hardly any selling interest at lower levels. Prices continued to be in a wide range i.e. 3.40-3.55 for W240, 3,30-3.45 for W320, 3.10-3.25 FOB for W450. Splits and Pieces moved up in Indian market but were reportedly soft in international market
Traditionally, July is quiet but it has been unusually quiet this year… this makes it all the more difficult to judge market trend. If buying interest for nearbys is limited, prices may ease a bit as small & medium packers will have product to sell for Aug-Oct shipment. If buyers need to cover large quantities for this period, then prices will remain around current levels and may even move up a bit
During Aug/Sep, EU buyers do major portion of their buying for the next year and USA buyers do their top-up buying for rest of the current year. This year, there is a lot of uncertainty about both and this will make it difficult for all stakeholders to take decisions on pricing & extent of position taking.. The historically high prices and higher level of uncertainty are a challenge (and for some, an opportunity)
General feeling is that prices will remain around current levels or little higher in the coming weeks – it will be interesting to see what impact this has on the volume of business that people are able (willing) to do for 2009 shipments
What is your opinion about market situation & trend ? Would appreciate your views & forecast on consumption / demand trends and any other info & news
Pankaj N. Sampat
Thursday, July 31, 2008
By LARRY MARGASAK Associated Press WriterWASHINGTON — One of the worst outbreaks of foodborne illness in the U.S. is teaching the food industry the truth of the adage, "Be careful what you wish for because you might get it."The industry pressured the Bush administration years ago to limit the paperwork companies would have to keep to help U.S. health investigators quickly trace produce that sickens consumers, according to interviews and government reports reviewed by The Associated Press.
In this Feb. 2, 2007 file photo, Former Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy Thompson speaks at a political forum in Henderson, Nev. Thompson had pushed to increase the number of food safety inspections, and is now part of a coalition lobbying to increase the FDA budget and turn around several years of stagnant spending on food. Thompson has acknowledged he had to compromise when the food industry opposed tough food tracing and record-keeping rules. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong, File)The White House also killed a plan to require the industry to maintain electronic tracking records that could be reviewed easily during a crisis to search for an outbreak's source. Companies complained the proposals were too burdensome and costly, and warned they could disrupt the availability of consumers' favorite foods.The apparent but unintended consequences of the lobbying success: a paper record-keeping system that has slowed investigators, with estimated business losses of $250 million. So far, nearly 1,300 people in 43 states, the District of Columbia and Canada have been sickened by salmonella since April.Investigators initially focused on tomatoes as a culprit. Now they are turning attention to jalapeno peppers.A former member of Bush's Cabinet and three former senior officials in the Food and Drug Administration told the AP that government food safety experts did not get the strong record-keeping and trace-back system originally proposed under a bioterrorism law to cope with a major foodborne illness."In retrospect, yes, if they (the regulations) had been broader and a bit more far-reaching, it could have helped with this," said Robert Brackett, senior vice president of the Grocery Manufacturers Association. "It wouldn't have hurt, for sure." Brackett formerly was a top safety official at the FDA.Under pressure in 2003 and 2004, the White House agreed to dilute record-keeping proposals by FDA safety experts."If the FDA had been given the resources and authority years ago that it asked for to solve these kinds of problems, I think we would have solved this already," said William Hubbard, a former FDA associate commissioner.Tommy Thompson, who was health secretary during the industry's lobbying campaign, acknowledged that a more robust food-tracking system — opposed by business groups as too expensive — could have helped stem the current illnesses and business losses."We went in with the larger package but knew we had to compromise," Thompson told the AP. "I was satisfied with this being the first step. It's always better to be a Monday morning quarterback. We could have ended up with nothing. If we had more, would it help the situation now? Yes."According to government records reviewed by the AP, business groups met at least 10 times with the White House between March 2003 and March 2004, as the FDA regulations were under debate. Food industry lobbyists successfully blunted proposals using arguments familiar in other regulatory debates: The government's plans would saddle business with unnecessary and costly regulations."The FDA's strong proposed bioterrorism rules were significantly watered down before they became final," said Caroline Smith DeWaal, food safety director at the Washington-based Center for Science in the Public Interest. The private advocacy group obtained the White House meeting records under the Freedom of Information Act and provided them to the AP.Participants in the meetings included companies and trade groups up and down the food chain, including Altria Group Inc. and Kraft Foods Inc., when Altria was Kraft's parent; The Kroger Co.; Safeway Inc.; ConAgra Foods Inc.; The Procter & Gamble Co.; the American Forest and Paper Association; the Polystyrene Packaging Council; the Glass Packaging Institute; the Cocoa Merchants' Association of America; the World Shipping Council; and the Food Marketing Institute.The Grocery Manufacturers Association spent $2.6 million on lobbing in 2003 and 2004, the period when the FDA rules were under consideration, according to federal lobbying records. The Food Marketing Institute spent $1.7 million during the period. The figures were for all lobbying by the trade groups and on their behalf.The grocery group complained during the comment period that the FDA was overstepping authority that Congress had granted under the new bioterrorism law. It said the FDA wanted a "cradle-to-grave record-keeping system" to track every morsel of food delivered to every retail grocery shelf and said more tracking information does not always produce a better result.The marketing institute said a proposed tracking system as envisioned by the FDA "would be exorbitantly costly."The food industry now says it will agree to a better tracing system operated by the government, as long as the industry can advise how to design it."We support the government requiring industry to have traceability systems that are effective and work," said Jill Hollingsworth, group vice president for food safety programs at the marketing institute. "But industry has to come up with a system that follows products throughout the food chain."The FDA official in charge of the current salmonella investigation, David Acheson, said the agency slowly is reviewing paper records to help trace tainted produce. But Acheson disputed arguments that an electronic records system would necessarily have helped investigators."We still haven't managed to figure out this outbreak," he said in an interview days before the case's biggest break — discovery of a tainted Mexican-grown jalapeno in a southern Texas warehouse.The White House Office of Management and Budget defended its meetings with food industry groups in 2003 and 2004, saying it regularly meets with companies and individuals with a stake in proposed government rules."Our door is open for anyone — from non-profits, industry representatives to individual citizens — who request meetings on regulations," OMB spokeswoman Jane Lee said. "These are listening sessions in conjunction with personnel from the regulating agency and we publicly post these meetings online."
Monday, June 23, 2008
By David Rosenthal
On May 28th members of the Association of Food Industries Nut and Agricultural Section met with diplomats at the Vietnamese Embassy in Washington DC to discuss the magnitude of cashew defaults from Vietnam over the past several months. It is reported that approximately 2000 container loads have been defaulted on by Vietnamese cashew shippers between November 2007 and April 2008. These actions by the Vietnamese shippers have had a major impact on cashew prices with some grades increasing by over $2.00 per pound. Importers are being forced to pay 'enhancements' in order to have their contracted product shipped. This puts the importing community in a position to lose millions of dollars, depending on the volume of contractual obligations to roasters at lower market prices. Several importers who had agreed to these enhancements have been caught off guard when shippers again refused to ship already renegotiated containers unless they agreed to further increases to the enhancements as a result of higher market prices at the time of shipment. Diplomats at the Vietnamese Embassy gave very little hope to the importers and roasters who attended the May meeting. They asked for the AFI members affected by the defaults to have sympathy for the suppliers who have suffered due to higher production costs, increases in raw material and high inflation rates. One roaster commented that he could understand the plight of the Vietnamese cashew suppliers if the enhancements were a one time event, but that asking for further enhancements to release shipments was unsustainable. Three weeks have passed since this meeting and in this short time the FOB price on 320's has moved up by almost $0.35 per pound.
Flashback to 1999
Industry wide defaults by cashew suppliers are not new to the industry. In 1999 Indian shippers defaulted in unprecedented numbers, resulting in tremendous market increases, and huge losses were absorbed by the importing and roasting community. Ironically, these actions by Indian shippers resulted in increased support of the Vietnamese cashew industry. Now that we have experienced this behavior from both major cashew producing countries we may have to reassess the way we conduct business, as taking forward positions has proven to be a very risky venture. Understandably this is a difficult proposition since retailers continue to demand long term contractual agreements to lock in pricing, in some cases for more than one year. With a market certainty time frame of approximately 3 months, the speculative nature of the business has always presented a risk for the cashew commodity trader. Traditionally, if a trader called the market wrong he stood to lose a great deal of money. In today's environment, the trader runs the risk that, even if he calls the market right, his profitable forward position may turn out to be a worthless printout of uncollectible contracts.
Speculative Trading Now Riskier
The current conditions in the cashew market clearly indicate the high price paid for aggressive speculative trading practices from unreliable sources. The desire to get the lowest price sends many importers to small, poorly funded suppliers who not only have questionable manufacturing practices, but also have proven to be unreliable when markets go against them. The ripple effects of this behavior became so far reaching this year that even major Vietnamese suppliers that have been historically reliable caved in to the temptation to demand "price enhancements" in order to fulfill contractual obligations.
The cashew industry has experienced the same devastating events twice within one decade. Price increases of over $2.00 lb. are bound to have a negative impact on business with retailers - indeed cashew consumption is already down as consumers, faced with increased fuel and food expenses, cut back on snacks and luxury items. No one in the importing or roasting sectors is benefiting from the present conditions. The great American philosopher, George Santayana once said "Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it". We've had two hard lessons - do we really want to continue on this path?
Wednesday, June 18, 2008
Some crop damage has been reported from the major producing regions such as Kerala and Mangalore due to incessant rains.
Firm price trends likely to persist till the end of the current year
Kochi, June 16 Cashew prices have begun to firm up on projections of lower production in Brazil, Vietnam and Indonesia this year.
Raw nut production
Raw cashew nuts production for 2007-08 is expected to be lower by 20 and 10 per cent in Vietnam and Brazil respectively, while the Indian crop is expected to be normal, the Cashew Export Promotion Council of India (CEPCI) has pointed out.
Preliminary indications are that shortfalls are expected from the Indonesian crop as well.
Increased global cashew consumption and greater consumption from India are also expected to contribute to the firm price trends.
Some crop damage has been reported from the major producing regions of the country such as Kerala and Mangalore due to incessant rains. Prices, which had been reigning low for close to a decade have begun to climb back to the peaks of 1999.
F.o.b prices of cashew grade W-320 have risen to $3.04 a pound in April, closing in on the record price of $3.16 a pound attained in August 1999.
Prices had subsequently touched a low of $1.66 a pound during March 2003. The price spurt of 1999 was mainly contributed by rising domestic and global consumption, CEPCI said.
Rise in acreage
However, there has been significant growth in area and production of cashew since then. The area under cashew registered a growth of 4.2 per cent to 8.5 lakh hectares and production grew by eight per cent to 6.2 lakh tonnes in 2007-08, as against the previous year. This is far ahead of the 7.06 lakh hectares under the crop and 5.2 lakh tonnes production of 1999.
On the processing front, import of raw cashew nut this year was reported to be 6.05 lakh tonnes and the kernel exports stood at 1.14 lakh tonnes. The domestic consumption is also expected to be higher this year on account of increased disposable income of the people and better health awareness. Though raw cashew nut imports have risen this year, kernel exports have dropped due to the sharp appreciation in the value of the rupee.
Trend to persist
Going by the present trends in production, consumption and growing purchasing power in the hands of the consumers, industry sources were optimistic that the firm price trends would persist to the end of the current year and future trends would become evident with the next crop.
Monday, June 16, 2008
Monday, June 02, 2008
The Cashew market is entering uncharted waters. There has not been much activity this week but undertone is very firm. Business has been done W240 around 3.45, W320 between 3.20 and 3.25, W450 around 3.00-3.05 FOB from India. Most of the business in W320 was with USA for shipments upto Sep but there were reoorts of some business for forwards as well. Stray business being done to off markets few cents higher.
Some processors in Vietnam have been selling few cents lower than India but business being done only for nearbys. Shipments of old re-negotiated contracts is reported to be slow. Buyers say they come to know price they have to pay for each lot only when it is actually shipped !
RCN prices have also moved up. Price for some goods shipped and under shipment are being re-negotiated. Some traders are re-selling afloat parcels at higher prices to other buyers. RCN still available in IVC are with lower yields. Situation in Guinea Bissau is very messy. Over 50,000mt have arrived in port but very small quantity has been shipped. It is reported that sellers are holding buyers to ransom, playing one against the other. Already, re-negotiated prices are about 300 dollars per mt (equiv to 60 cents per lb, kernel basis) higher than original prices and it is still not certain what prices will finally have to be paid to get the goods.
For the time being, buyers (RCN and kernels) have no option but to keep buying what they need to fulfill their delivery commitments. It will be several months before things come close to normal flow of supplies.
If - and only if - demand slows down significantly in coming weeks, we can expect some stability in prices this year; otherwise the firmness will continue till end of the year. And If current firmness continues till beginning of last quarter, RCN prices will be high in Brazil + Indonesia + East Africa leading to higher prices in first quarter 2009 as well.
We will be entering the third quarter - which is traditionally a busy period - with lot of uncertainty and consequent volatility. Next few months are going to be very difficult for all stakeholders – instability distorts trends and decision making becomes difficult
Would appreciate your comments on market situtation, views & forecast of demand & market trend and any other news / info AND opinion
Pankaj N. Sampat
Mumbai - India
Tuesday, May 27, 2008
Monday, May 19, 2008
Cashew prices moved up a few cents this week due to lack of offers. Some business was done at the higher prices e.g. W240 around 3.25, W320 around 3.05 FOB, W450 around 2.85 FOB for shipments upto Oct.
From India, limited quantities are available for nearbys and due to the high RCN prices, there is very little interest to sell forward positions. Business with Vietnam is for nearbys only as buyers willing to buy forwards from very few processors there.
Normally, forward trading should be at peak during this main harvest period but due to the high prices & uncertainty everybody wants to play it safe PLUS number of forward players is limited due to the overhang of recent problem
Until inventory levels and supply lines come back close to normal levels, it will be very difficult to know the real usage & demand trends. Increase in all costs and general increase in prices of all commodities will also have some impact on the Nuts sector - price as well as demand. This means that taking forward positions will continue to be difficult for both sellers and buyers
Guinea Bissau RCN prices have moved up but these levels cannot be supported unless kernel prices move up as well. If kernel market softens or demand slows down, traders will find it difficult to realise the high prices being negotiated now. Despite a good crop, shipments from IVC continue to be slow and there are reports that yields of goods now arriving in Abidjan are quite low
We continue to feel that short & medium trend will remain firm and this could well spillover into early 2009 (the last time prices crossed 3.00 – in 1999 - they remained around that level for about seven months from May to Dec and started declining from Jan 2000 with the big decline happening only in 2nd and 3rd quarter of 2000)
Would appreciate your comments on market situation, views / forecast of demand and market trend and any other info / news
Pankaj N. Sampat
Wednesday, May 14, 2008
The uncharted waters that we have been mentioning in our recent market updates appear to be realistic. Here we are with a large cold storage number and what also looks like will be a large carry-out but the market remains very strong along with some sizes and grades being very short – particularly with halves.
It appears the reasons for this being the case are as follows:
We are going into the off-year; although, it’s too early to be sure of how short the crop will be. We will keep you informed.
Consumption of Pecans remains strong; furthermore, we are still getting heavy interest from customers still needing to contract needs for this year.
Walnut pieces remain strong and customers continue to look at pecans as an alternative supply.
Customers, for the most part, contracted solidly through December 2008.
Inshell pecans continue to be held to supply already written contracts. With that, inshell is still being held by growers and some shellers for China to cover their needs until new crop becomes available to ship.
China’s usage remains strong. The commerce department reported 29,432,578 pounds of inshell pecans have already been shipped to the orient through the month of February. The guess is that China will buy about 15 to 20 million more pounds between the end of February through the month of September of 2008.
It is definite that the uncharted waters are in full swing. As always and more than ever, proceed with caution.
Southwest Nut Company
Thursday, May 08, 2008
1.46 Billion Lbs—that’s the almonds crop estimate released today by the Almond Board and USDA Calif Ag Statistics Service compiled from a grower survey of 251 growers representing 18% of the acreage. The estimated yield of 2212 lbs per acre on 660,000 estimated bearing acres would give us the 3rd record crop in a row and a yield just short of last year’s 2241 lbs/acre record.
Most in the industry were expecting an estimate in the 1.3 to 1.4 billion lbs range, so this estimate is a surprise on the high side. There may be some softening of prices in the short run in the Calif varieties. Nonpareil are hard to find now, so I would not expect and price reductions. In the long run, I expect the market can handle this crop size. We have a history of shipping more than expected when supply is available and prices are reasonable as they are now. Almonds are the lowest priced tree nut and many of the others are over 3 and 4 USD/lb.
Tomorrow we have a position report with April shipments. At that time, I’ll make another report with some crop inventory projections and comments on price reactions to the crop estimate.
Best regards, Ned
Monday, May 05, 2008
Cashew market is steady – with a slightly firm undertone for nearbys but not much activity for forwards. No change in prices in the last two weeks - business was done for W240 around 3.20, W320 around 2.95, W450 around 2.75 FOB (some business was done few cents higher as well)
RCN prices from West Africa are also steady but very little new business has been done in last couple of weeks. Brazil has entered the RCN import market after a long gap (their previous import was in 1998/99). Shipments are picking up and after reasonable quantity of old purchases have been shipped, new business will be done. There is still a lot of seed available but there are delays in arrival in India & Vietnam plus some holding back for higher prices. Unless kernel prices pick up for forward positions, processors will be reluctant to pay high prices as there is very limited demand for later positions at the moment
Due to the uncertainty of when – and how much cashews – will be shipped from Vietnam, it seems that kernel market is likely to be more of a spot market for quite some time. This is going to make things difficult for people who want to take forward positions – they will be reluctant to take on any big commitments as they are already caught on the wrong foot and cannot afford to aggravate an already difficult situation
Usage in first quarter has been good in most markets – despite some retail level price increases in some markets. Usage in second quarter must be watched closely to get an idea of extent of buying cashews still to be done for 2008 deliveries and to get some idea of how demand will develop in late 2008 / early 2009
Pankaj N. Sampat
Mumbai - India
Tuesday, April 29, 2008
As if a staggering rise in cashew prices were not enough, reliable sources estimate that Vietnamese shippers have defaulted on over 2000 containers of cashews scheduled to arrive between November 2007 and February 2008. This presents a market differential in excess of 40 million dollars. The Vietnamese have protested that the discrepancies between current market prices and the lower prices contracted before the market overheated is so great that honoring the contracts would effectively put them out of business. Indian shippers (who so far have not defaulted) maintain that fulfilling the contracts would not result in substantial losses, because the Vietnamese raw seed, both domestic and imported, was bought at reasonable price levels and was sufficient to meet Vietnamese contractual obligations.
The problem is that much higher profits can be had by delaying shipments and causing supply disruptions. Historically, the default tolerance level is $0.20 lb. Once the market goes beyond this price differential, the temptation to default and sell to buyers willing to pay a higher price (and there appear to be plenty of these high bidders in China and Malaysia) is too much for some suppliers. And there is every possibility that even this traditional default tolerance threshold could decrease.
There is no question that these defaults are fueling the severe rise in cashew prices. It is by no means an isolated problem, but widespread – continuing from last year’s crop into the current one. The number of defaulted containers that need to be covered has triggered a wave of buying that is permeated with fear – both of shortages and of further price increases. The combination of fear and uncertainty is always a grim mix, and Indian shippers who know the extent of the defaults are not likely to allow prices to soften. There is a slim hope for price relief as the peak arrival period of raw seed in India and West Africa approaches, but the fear factor, delays and defaults seem to have created an environment in which the market firms almost as soon as it eases.
The problem is not unique to the United States. Our counterparts at CENTA have banded together and are working through their governments to resolve the situation through treaties and trade agreements with Vietnam. Although the United States does not have the same types of treaties, the AFI is also trying to safeguard the interests of American importers, who are caught in the vise of having to fulfill contracts to their customers while having to pay more for cashews purchased on an emergency basis in order to cover the defaults. Unfortunately American importers have the added handicap of the weakening dollar, making their bargaining position more problematic.
In order to recoup their losses and stabilize the situation, the importers need for these older, less expensive contracts to be shipped in full. There can be no question of “Force Majeure” from Vietnam, because they continue to offer containers of cashews for 5 – 6 months out (at high prices) which we must assume to be the very containers that they are not shipping for their contracts! By whatever means – arbitration, diplomacy, etc. the defaults need to be addressed, and resolved, because it is not only the short term that is at stake. The commodity trading and speculative market approach that has been the mainstay of the industry could be at risk if commodity traders (importers) are perceived to have no power to effectively enforce contracts.
The cashew industry has experienced these “perfect storms” in the past, and will weather this one also. It is worth mentioning that not all of the Vietnamese shippers have defaulted on their contracts – many are honoring their obligations. These tend to be the ‘best of the best’ – shippers who view long term relationships as more important than quick profits. These difficult situations are always learning opportunities – if nothing else, hopefully, the importing community will remember who the reliable suppliers are when the good times come around again.
Thursday, April 17, 2008
In general the peanut markets have been very quiet the last week. Little to no offers on ’07 Crop and certainly no offers on ’08 Crop.
I have talked to some farmers, this week, that advised that some additional acres (planned for peanuts) have been planted in corn. The price for corn topped $6/bl. last week and some acres were planted in corn. The weather was good and University of Georgia planting guides allow planting of corn through April 15.
There is no way to tell how significant this increase in corn may be, but any reduction in peanut acres is not good.
Export Peanut numbers were released by FAS for February. They show total peanut exports up 72% Feb ’08 vs. Feb ’07. For the crop year Exports are up 14.7%. Most exporters agree, this trend will continue. The peanuts have already been sold and the numbers will come in as they ship.
This continues to bring concern that supply will be tight on peanuts as we move through the summer.
Again, it is very hard to get price indications from any Sheller.
The shellers are waiting to see how many acres are planted and shell a few more tons to see how yields come out.
We may see some additional offers on ’07 and ’08 crop in late May or early June.
Let me know if you have any questions or comments.
Tuesday, April 15, 2008
This comes in addition to the recent news regarding the high levels salmonella recently found in the Malt O Meal cereals and their co packed private label brands. Both of these issues bring to light how vulnerable industries are today and that ignoring potential problems can result in a very costly lesson.
Cashew Concern Certification
Monday, April 14, 2008
California’s 2007 pistachio crop was not only huge in size, but also alarmingly high in aflatoxin levels — almost 30 percent in at least one sampling.
For an industry facing future record-after-record crops, the prospect of a growing aflatoxin problem is not good. Handlers report unwanted high levels in the nuts processed from this crop.
The problem has become so alarming, handlers are now considering penalties for growers who deliver nuts unacceptably high in aflatoxin levels/Navel orangeworm damage and to reward those who avoid the problem with good management practices and deliver a clean crop.
And giving your handler a very clean crop is not that difficult, according to Bob Beede, University of California Cooperative Extension tree nut crop farm advisor for Kings and Tulare counties.
Beede told the recent Western Pistachio Association’s U.S. Pistachio Conference in Santa Barbara that a team of UC entomologists have put together a thorough package of knowledge and control strategies to reduce Navel orangeworm populations, and therefore significantly reduce the chances of aflatoxin in California pistachios.
Food safety is hammered hard at just about every crop production and handling meeting these days. It was no different with pistachios which can ill afford a food contamination crisis.
Pistachios remain almost a niche snack food consumers would quickly avoid if they perceived there was a food safety issue.
Consuming high levels of aflatoxin can make people seriously ill. It has also been linked to liver cancer.
“Folks, we have a problem we have to solve collectively. You have to take Navel orangeworm management with extreme seriousness,” Beede told about 400 growers, processors and PCAs at the conference.
Last season’s high levels have been blamed on the “perfect storm” of a heavy crop with strung out maturity, a large percentage of early splits and a late harvest.
Beede acknowledged that it may have been ideal for NOW and aflatoxin, but the overwintering NOW population left behind will not go away.
Nor will the growing number of perennial crops that host NOW go away, particularly almonds, another crop seriously impacted by NOW.
Beede insists that a 7-step program will significantly reduce any overwintering or growing NOW problem.
It begins with sanitation; shaking mummies from trees, blowing mummies off berms into middles, and disking them in.
“It may cost $100 to $150 per acre to do the sanitation work,” said Beede. It may pay off by not getting a call from your processor who says he does not want your pistachio nuts because of high NOW damage/aflatoxin levels.
As important as sanitation and beneficial insects are in controlling NOW, those two things together or alone will not control damaging levels of NOW. Control will go beyond those.
Most all generations of NOW in a season overlap, some in as brief a time span as 10 days per generation. However, the first generation does not overlap with the second. It is that initial flush where growers have a shot at cleaning up overwinter populations with a pesticide.
Beede recommends using one of the new soft, non-disruptive insecticides to control worms then. Don’t use an organophosphate early because it will take out beneficial parasites early.
“This first generation early treatment would be around the first week to 10 days of May in a normal year,” said Beede.
He also suggested disking middles in June to break pest production cycles; applying soft materials in July if warranted.
“If you wait until August to do something about a NOW infestation, you will not be able to control NOW with pesticides then” he warned.
“And harvest early,” he added. “Don’t wait for all the nuts to split. They won’t.”
After harvest, Beede said, is another opportunity to break a NOW reproduction cycle. “Remember when you are harvesting nuts, Navel orangeworm also are harvesting nuts.”
“Look at a post harvest treatment with Intrepid and a pyrethroid,” he suggested.
Early splits create an ideal environment for NOW generations to enter the nut and reproduce rapidly. Early splits last year were correlated to deficit irrigation in many cases, according to one handler.
Emerging NOWs do not have to be high numbers initially to create problems. Beede said one entomologist collected 200,000 mummies, but only 190 adults emerged.
“Not a problem? Let’s say there are only two Navel orangeworms per tree in an orchard. Each one can lay 100 eggs giving you 200 eggs per tree. Assuming 50 percent mortality in those eggs, that still leaves 100 worms per tree. That is a problem,” Beede said.
In the pistachio industry, we are all in the same boat when it comes to NOW and aflatoxin ... all in the same boat without a commander,” Beede said, indicating that NOW control is a grower-by-grower decision.
However, there is one common thread among growers and it is that there is plenty of information about this insect pest and how to control it.
“One thing we all have is knowledge and knowledge is power,” Beede emphasized.
He encouraged growers to “seize the opportunity” to control NOW and reduce any aflatoxin threat and “preserve the food safety and preserve the market that California pistachios have always been recognized for.”
Friday, April 11, 2008
10 April, 2008 - A contentious food tracking system that Chinese authorities insist will radically improve safety has been incorporated into draft law
The new product and identification system however has met with resistance from major manufacturers who say it will fail to address the problem while significantly adding to production costs.Under the new arrangements each product will be allocated a unique code which, say Chinese officials, will allow it to be tracked at each stage of its productions and distribution cycle. Once it comes into full law, it will be illegal to sell food without such a code.China’s Government originally said the system had to be up and running by June but has now extended the deadline until the end of 2009.However, reports in Chinese media say many of the largest food companies, including Mars, Nestlé, Coca-Cola and Pepsico have raised concerns about the proposed system.Many companies said it would raise production costs and lead to price rises of up to 15%.More importantly, say opponents, the system has a number of fundamental flaws. It does not apply to small companies which, say many, are the cause of the majority of food safety breaches.Li Yu, scientific and regulatory affairs director of Mars China, was reported as saying: “The system is of little use in ensuring product safety, as it doesn't deal with the quality of raw materials."Also, the system doesn't apply to small food plants, and they have the most problems.”A Chinese Government official responsible for implementing the system said the government would work with companies to solve problems as they arose.
Monday, April 07, 2008
Market was very quiet this week – very little business reported. No change in prices e. g. W240 around 3.25, W320 around 3.00, W450 around 2.75 FOB (some large processors sold few cents higher). Prices for Splits & LWP moved up a bit in domestic market.
WA season seems to be progressing normally - Prices came down 3-4% i.e. Benin is around 950 and IVC is around 875 C&F. If RCN prices ease further, we might see some kernel selling interest as processors would like to have some sales on books before buying too much RCN. But before selling any big volume, they would like to cover reasonable quantities as they would not like to go short again even though prices are high
In Vietnam, Vinacas has organized meetings between processors & some large buyers this weekend.. Outcome of these meetings will have a great impact on supplies from Vietnam and positions & buying strategy of most buyers in main importing countries
Until there is significant improvement in flow of product to USA & Europe – and this is unlikely to happen before June even if enough RCN is available – supply lines will be tight. Need for spot and nearby shipments will probably keep the market firm. In turn, this might result in steady RCN prices affecting ability of processors to offer kernels at lower prices for next few months. What impact this will have in second half of 2008 & early 2009 – on demand and prices - is a big question mark
Overall, difficult times & delicately poised market means that everyone will have to be extra careful for next few weeks
I would appreciate your views on the current situation, information on demand and price trends in your market... and your opinion on how market will develop in coming weeks & months
Pankaj N. Sampat
Monday, March 31, 2008
The USDA issued the Prospective Plantings Report this morning.
Peanut acres are estimated to increase 16% over 2007 crop to 1,430,000 acres.
This would yield a little more than 2,100,000 tons, with an average yield.
This is certainly not too many peanuts when you consider a demand of 1,950,000 tons and the short carry-in to the 2008 crop.
I will give a more detailed report, later.
Have a Great week. Richard
Peanuts: Area Planted by State
and United States, 2006-2008
: Area Planted
: 2006 : 2007 : 2008 1/ : 2008/2007
: --------------- 1,000 Acres --------------- Percent
AL : 165.0 160.0 180.0 113
FL : 130.0 130.0 120.0 92
GA : 580.0 530.0 650.0 123
MS : 17.0 19.0 28.0 147
NM : 12.0 10.0 9.0 90
NC : 85.0 92.0 86.0 93
OK : 23.0 18.0 20.0 111
SC : 59.0 59.0 65.0 110
TX : 155.0 190.0 250.0 132
VA : 17.0 22.0 22.0 100
US : 1,243.0 1,230.0 1,430.0 116
1/ Intended plantings in 2008 as indicated by reports from farmers.
2008 PEANUT CROP ACREAGE ESTIMATE 3/31/2008
ACRES YIELD PRODUCTION
2006 1,210,000 2,863 1,732 ,125
2007 1,195,000 3,130 1,870 ,325
2008 1,430,000 2,800 2,002 ,000
1,430,000 3,200 2,288 ,000
Over the last five crop years U.S. yield hasn't been
lower than 2,863 pounds per acre and hasn't been
higher than 3,159 pounds per acre. Speculation on
the possible low and high production for 2008 crop.
Wednesday, March 26, 2008
2005 Peanut Crop production 2,410,000 tons of farmer stock
2006 Peanut Crop production 1,737,000 tons of farmer stock - Down 28%
Tonnage was down due to 25% reduction in acres and poor growing conditions
Carry-in from 2006 is estimated at 585,000 tons. (Aug 1, 2007)
USDA final estimate (1/10/08) 2007 Crop at 1,870,325 FST. FSIS has only graded 1,811,228 tons, as of 3/18/08. (1,815,000 FST is going to be close)
Demand onUS Peanut crop 1.98 mil tons
Demand includes Peanut domestic usage 1.45, seed .13 mil, exports .40 mil tons.
Supply 2,520,000 = 1,815,000 ’07 Crop + 585,000 carry-in + 120,000 import
Demand – 1,980,000 = 540,000 FST carry-out (Aug 1, 2008)
This is a tight carry-out. (we need 475,000 to cover Aug – Oct).
There is an unusually high demand out of Mexico and EU at this time. This is due to China not offering and Argentina has sold out of the ’07 crop.
US demand is just seeing the price increases being put into effect Jan ’08. It will take a month or two for us to evaluate the impact on demand. P/B is usually a strong seller in a bad economy, so I would expect it to stay strong. Candy and Snack could take a hit as fuel cost take a big part of the consumers cash.
Market ’07 Crop
Very few offers on 2007 Crop - Peanuts with EU specs or Hi-Oleic specs would be higher.
’07 crop market going forward depends on 1) US demand – how does the consumer react to the higher prices and the weaker economy. 2) China - Recent reports indicate China will need all their peanuts for oil and consumption within the country. 3) Argentina – how will the crop be in Argentina? Acres were up 4%.
Jan ’08 export of peanuts is up 48% over Jan ’07. Shellers indicate significant export sales have been made going forward. We are just starting to see this in the Govn’t numbers. This will help keep the US market tight and prices firm.
Farmer stock has been contracted at $500 - $550/ton. The majority was at $500 - $525. I would estimate that 65 -70% has been contracted. (more in the SE than SW)
Last week cotton prices fell along with other small grains. This has taken the pressure off of peanuts. Farmers seem to be complaining less about the $500 peanut contracts. Cheaper cotton may help us with peanut acres.
Shellers are withdrawn from the ’08 market until we see peanut acres planted.
I believe an increase in Peanut acres of less than 15% will be bullish on prices, 15 – 18% will be neutral and 18% + will be bearish.
Long range weather forecast are still calling for warmer and dryer in the peanut areas. In spite of this, we have had good rains in the SE over the last 2 months.