Wednesday, January 30, 2008

At least eight Japanese were sickened,

Source: Dow Jones Newswires
Tokyo, Jan. 30 - At least eight Japanese were sickened, including a child who remains in a coma, after eating Chinese-made dumplings contaminated with an insecticide, police and health officials said Wednesday.

A family of three in western Hyogo and another family of five in Chiba, near Tokyo, suffered severe abdominal pains, vomiting and diarrhea after eating the frozen dumplings imported from China by a Japanese company, the Health Ministry said.
A 5-year-old girl in Chiba remained in a coma and her mother, two brothers and a sister were in serious condition, a Chiba police spokeswoman said on condition of anonymity in accordance with police policy.
Investigators found traces of organic phosphorus insecticide in the dumplings, their containers and the patients' vomit, the ministry said in a statement. Authorities were attempting to determine the source of the contamination, it said.
Police were investigating the case, and the ministry has ordered the dumplings' importer and distributor, JT Foods Co. Ltd. - an affiliate of Japan's largest tobacco company - to recall the product.
The dumplings were imported in November from the same Chinese manufacturer, Hebei Foodstuffs Import & Export Group Tianyang Food Processing, the ministry said.
Telephones weren't answered at the General Administration for Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine, which oversees the safety of China's exports. The agency's Web site made no mention of the incident.
JT Foods distributed 13 tons of dumplings each in Chiba and Hyogo, the ministry said.
China's exports have come under intense scrutiny in the past year after a number of potentially deadly chemicals were found in goods including toothpaste, toys, pet food and seafood.
China's government launched a four-month campaign last August to improve the quality of Chinese products and restore international confidence in its goods. Officials termed the campaign a success.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Vietnam to hold world top cashew exporter position this year

Vietnam’s cashew industry aimed to export 160,000 tons of cashews worth US$680 million in 2008, the Vietnam Cashew Association (VINACAS) said Saturday.
Vietnam was likely to remain the world’s top cashew exporter for the third year in succession, the association said.

The nuts were worth around $4,750 a ton, it said.

Vietnam has exported cashews to 40 countries; the US, China and Europe are the largest markets.

Exports earned $579 million in the first eleven months of last year, 26 percent more than 2006.

Reported by Quang Thuan

Story from Thanh Nien News
Published: 27 January, 2008, 11:50:52 (GMT+7)
Copyright Thanh Nien News

Monday, January 21, 2008

Nut trees hot ticket at nurseries

Bob Krauter
Capital Press

As growers push out older almond orchards like this one near Santa Nella last year, many are replacing them with new trees. A check of major nurseries in the state shows that almonds, walnuts and pistachio trees are in high demand.
California farmers' love affair with nuts shows no signs of stopping anytime soon based on a check of the state's major nurseries. Grower demand for almond, walnut and pistachio trees - in addition to olives and some types of citrus - remains strong.

Jack Poukish, general manager of business and sales for Sierra Gold Nursery in Yuba City, said demand exceeds supply of bareroot walnut trees. Other nuts are going strong, too.

"There is always going to be a strong trend forward for orchardists to lean to lower-labor tree crops - that means almonds, walnuts, this new super high-density olive system for the production of olive oil," Poukish said. "Orchardists are hesitant to increase acreage for high-labor-intensive crops like cherries or peaches."

At 615,000 bearing acres in 2007, almonds are the state's No. 1 nut crop. A decade ago, almond acreage was 442,000 acres, but as acreage has increased the industry's marketing and sales have kept pace. Poukish said sales of almond trees have slowed, but they still represent a major portion of sales for major nurseries.

"A lot of people thought almonds were overdone 10 years ago and we have seen such an expansion of the market and acreage," Poukish said. "Yes, we probably hit a peak about three years ago, but just like it is for Burchell, Wilson and Fowler and the other major bareroot nurseries, it is a significant segment for all of the bareroot nurseries serving orchardists in California. Even if it was just on replant business alone, that's a lot of trees."

The early January winter storms that swept through the Sacramento Valley blew down an estimated 10,000 almond trees, and Poukish said growers are already lining up replacement trees.

Tom Burchell of Burchell Nursery in Modesto, agrees that almonds, walnuts and pistachios are the hot items for nurseries.

"The nuts are going nuts. We wish we had more walnut trees," Burchell said. "Almond sales are a little flat right now, but they have been good. Pistachios have been good."

According to state data, bearing pistachio acreage has risen 68 percent between 1997 and 2006. Walnut acreage is up a healthy 12 percent for the same period.

Both Burchell and Poukish said sales of trees for high-density olive plantings is one of the newest and hottest trends.

"There is a positive trend in the super high-density olives," Poukish said. "There's been significant acreage planted in both the Sacramento Valley and the San Joaquin Valley although that is still a very new industry that many people are waiting to see how things go."

Because the high-density olives can be picked mechanically, Poukish said they fit with what California orchardists are looking for to avoid the scarcity and higher costs of labor.

Among the other in-demand trees being planted in the state are seedless citrus, particularly mandarins.

Bob McManaman, nursery sales for Tree Source Citrus Nursery in Exeter, said the Tango variety of seedless mandarin is popular. State data show that bearing acreage of tangerines, mandarins, tangelos and other specialty citrus has risen 61 percent between 1997 and 2006. Seedless mandarins like the Tango have helped lead that charge.

"It is anticipated to be real successful," McManaman said. He added that that the Cara Cara navel orange has seen strong sales in his area and lemons are making a comeback.

"We are seeing a greater interest in lemons than typically what we would. We don't have substantial lemon acreage and we are by no means a premiere lemon area, but for us there is more lemon interest than we have had in the past," he said. The Limoneira 8A Lisbon, because it is less frost sensitive, is the lemon variety that growers in the southern San Joaquin Valley are planting, noted McManaman.

Tom Burchell said apricots have languished for several years. Bearing acreage of apricots has steadily declined from 20,000 acres a decade ago to about 13,800. Jack Poukish said sales of apple trees, which had been on a decline for years, have reversed course.

"There is a pretty good trend on apples and nurseries in the Northwest and those on California that grow apples for the Northwest have been seeing an increasing trend in nursery tree sales," Poukish said.

While sales of prune and cling peach trees have remained stable, pear tree sales have slumped.

The pear thing for nurseries is very dead," Poukish said. "There are no new pear plantings to speak of."

Bartlett pear acreage which hit 15,600 bearing acres in 1997 has dropped to about 12,000 acres.

Bob Krauter is the California editor based in Sacramento. E-mail:

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Weekly Cashews Update

Jan 19, 2008

Cashew market has been very quiet in the last two weeks but sellers price ideas have moved up a few cents due to higher RCN prices & weaker USD.. Last traded levels were W240 around 2.85, W320 around 2.55 FOB (about ten days ago) and now sellers are asking minimum 10 cents higher (large packers are not offering). Except for stray sales to some markets, there has not been any business at higher levels to main line markets but there is reasonable interest at last traded levels

RCN prices in all origins have moved up (as there is not much available now). Even in India, small processors who cater to domestic market are buying spot parcels of imported RCN at high prices. This will continue for few weeks until newcrop arrivals start. So far conditions in all origins have been good - in coming weeks we can expect various news & rumours which will affect market sentiment & prices but cleatr picture will not be available for quite some time

In importing countries, inventories are low and if demand for deliveries in first quarter is high, prompt shipment demand will continue and this will keep the market firm. Otherwise, there is a possibility that prices may ease in Feb/Mar when RCN arrivals start in Vietnam and India

Overall, downside is limited and volatility may be high in the next month or two. Activity in this period will have an important impact on prices for rest of the year

Pankaj N. Sampat
Mumbai India

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Almonds Market update from Ned

Dear Friends:

Happy New Year! We are off to a quiet start as the almonds market prices remain steady to slightly lower from last month. Almond Board Position Report for December was released last Tuesday showing record shipments for December at 94.5 million (just ahead of last December‘s 94 mil) and record crop receipts of 1.314 billion. We expect total receipts to be in the range of 1.350 to 1.360 billion—a little more than the 1.330 billion estimate. As for the market, buyers are holding off covering more at this time in hopes of lower prices. Most handlers are holding firm at present prices, so we have a standoff. Commitments remain ahead of last year and most handlers are busy shipping this month, so we don’t expect much price decline in the near future. Buyers and sellers will be watching pollination outlook a month from now as we begin bloom. These observations will affect market prices up or down. We always recommend covering needs gradually over the crop year for an average price and minimum risk.

Here is how the supply looks for the remaining 7 months of the crop year—same as projected last month:
Carry in Aug 1, 2007 134 mil lbs
2007 crop marketable (97%) 1320
Supply 1454
Shipments expected 1200 (1066 last year + 13%)
Carry out July 31, 2008 254

Now that the supply is known, the only variable is demand. Year to date, we have shipped 14% more than last year. We need to ship 10 to 15% more, which would leave a carryout of 225 to 275 mil lbs, so need to keep up the present pace of shipments. As always, we have the potential for price decrease (slowing shipments &/or good pollination) and for price increase (stronger shipments &/or poor pollination). Following prices are at the asking or trading level. Many buyers are looking for .05 to .10/lb lower:

Following are market prices, unpasteurized.
2007 crop
Nonpareil Supreme 23/25 2.70
Nonpareil Supreme 27/30 2.35
Carmel SSR 23/25 AOL 2.30
Butte SSR 27/30 AOL 2.05
Cal Std unsized 5% 1.90
Blanched Sliced 2.75

Please send your comments and questions.

Best regards, Ned

Ned T Ryan