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Strikes break out once again in San Antonio

Strikes break out once again in San Antonio

Chilean port companies and workers reached an agreement at the to end a 22-day strike — but strikes broke-out once more at San Antonio.

Fresh stoppages late Monday night have threatened an agreement reached between port companies and workers which sought to end three weeks of strikes that hit exporters with multimillion dollar losses. Workers hailed the agreement — which came after 14-hours of government-mediated discussions — as a significant victory. Under the deal, more than 6,500 port workers may be eligible to receive remuneration.

“Finally, we’ve reached an agreement, just as we said we would, now we will raise the movement,” Sergio Vargas, president of the Port Workers’ Front (FTP) told Puertos de Chile. Exporters received the news with enthusiasm, however lamented the losses and delays caused by the extended protest.

Fruit exporters were particularly hard hit — the strikes came at the height of fruit production and much of their produce was spoiled or sold at lower prices in the domestic market. “Considering labour and transportation, lost and devalued fruit, we’ve seen losses across the chain close to US$ 200 million,” Ronald Bown, president of the Chilean Fruit Exporters Association (Asoex), told The Santiago Times. “And to all of this one must add the damage to our image, credibility and confidence among our clients, which will encourage them to seek other suppliers.”

Port companies committed themselves to awarding US$ 2,730 to all workers who met the requirements of at least six months of activity and a minimum of 18 shifts per month, according to Mundo Maritimo. The retroactive payment is intended to remunerate half-an-hour lunch breaks dating between 2005 to 2013.

“This amount will be paid during February,” the port companies stated in their official announcement published in 24 Horas on Saturday.

The dispute over lunch hours lingers, however, in San Antonio — the country’s major fruit shipping port — and Mejillones — a key copper port — and tensions arose due to the alleged firing of workers in the two ports. “A few problems remain. While we are still working all shifts, union leaders are meeting with port company officials,” Jorge Bustos, leader of United Port Workers (TPU), told The Santiago Times, adding that his organization was “looking into” claims workers had been fired for their participation in the strikes. Port workers in San Antonio held a meeting until late Monday on whether they will strike once more, with local media reporting that at least two terminals decided to resume strikes.

During earlier strikes, violent clashes between workers and Carabineros — Chile’s uniformed police — occurred in both Mejillones and San Antonio, among other ports. Injuries were sustained on both sides. According to the Soy San Antonio website, seven San Antonio strikers were detained by Carabineros and held in custody for six hours on Friday.

The port strikes have not only impacted the national economy, but also caused losses in neighbouring Bolivia. The landlocked nation relies heavily on Chilean ports for its exports and is currently challenging Chile in the International Court of Justice (ICJ) to regain access to the ocean it lost in the War of the Pacific (1879-1883).

The Bolivian government stated Monday the country has lost an estimated US$ 30 million with hundreds of Bolivian truckers unable to unload cargo due to the strike. “The mistreatment that Bolivia suffered in the port of Iquique because of Chile is indignant and unacceptable,” Bolivian Productive Development Minister Teresa Morales told Los Tiempos.

In the wake of the agreement Chilean Fruit Growers Federation (Fedefruta) President Cristián Allendes said that exporters still faced significant challenges as a result of the dispute between workers and port owners. “For us this is not over, now we will have to explain why, for reasons beyond our control,

Publication date: 1/29/2014

Beltran receives blue grapes from South Africa once again

Eric Dierick: “The same clients as previous years”
Beltran receives blue grapes from South Africa once again

Beltran (Group Achiel de Witte), established by the CE in Brussels, received the first blue grapes by air from South Africa, on Monday, the 16th of December. Eric Dierick mentions, that just as in previous years, they offer the variety Black Gem. “As we have to sell these grapes at a high price because of the airfreight, we only offer them in Extra Large.”

One of our shippers, with whom we have arranged our air and sea freight grapes or many years, is SAFPRO. Apart from grapes we also do apples, pears and citrus with SAFPRO, both packed under our own brands CIBEL and CEBON and under their own SAFPRO hallmark.”

Good demand
According to Eric the demand for grapes may be called good. “The clients buying these grapes from Beltran are the same as in previous years. There is not an enormous shortage in Italian blue grapes like in the last years, but nevertheless many clients have already changed to new origins.” Eric mentions that this weekend another shipment from South Africa will be flown in. “And after that it will be over for this year again.”
For more information:
Eric Dierick
Group Achiel De Witte
Beltran NV
112/154, Werkhuizenkaai
Magazijn 35/36
1000 Brussels – Belgium
Tel : + 32 (0)2 216 45 39
Cell:+ 32 (0)476 96 97 45
Fax :+ 32 (0)2 245 70 43

Publication date: 12/20/2013

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Farming started in several places at once: Origins of agriculture in the Fertile Crescent

July 5, 2013 — For decades archaeologists have been searching for the origins of agriculture. Their findings indicated that early plant domestication took place in the western and northern Fertile Crescent. In the July 5 edition of the journal Science, researchers from the University of Tübingen, the Tübingen Senckenberg Center for Human Evolution and Paleoenvironment, and the Iranian Center for Archaeological Research demonstrate that the foothills of the Zagros Mountains of Iran in the eastern Fertile Crescent also served as a key center for early domestication.

Archaeologists Nicholas Conard and Mohsen Zeidi from Tübingen led excavations at the aceramic tell site of Chogha Golan in 2009 and 2010. They documented an 8 meter thick sequence of exclusively aceramic Neolithic deposits dating from 11,700 to 9,800 years ago. These excavations produced a wealth of architectural remains, stone tools, depictions of humans and animals, bone tools, animal bones, and — perhaps most importantly — the richest deposits of charred plant remains ever recovered from the Pre-Pottery Neolithic of the Near East.

Simone Riehl, head of the archaeobotany laboratory in Tübingen, analyzed over 30,000 plant remains of 75 taxa from Chogha Golan, spanning a period of more than 2,000 years. Her results show that the origins of agriculture in the Near East can be attributed to multiple centers rather than a single core area and that the eastern Fertile Crescent played a key role in the process of domestication.

Many pre-pottery Neolithic sites preserve comparatively short sequences of occupation, making the long sequence form Chogha Golan particularly valuable for reconstructing the development of new patterns of human subsistence. The most numerous species from Chogha Golan are wild barley, goat-grass and lentil, which are all wild ancestors of modern crops. These and many other species are present in large numbers starting in the lowest deposits, horizon XI, dating to the end of the last Ice Age roughly 11,700 years ago. In horizon II dating to 9.800 years ago, domesticated emmer wheat appears.

The plant remains from Chogha Golan represent a unique, long-term record of cultivation of wild plant species in the eastern Fertile Crescent. Over a period of two millennia the economy of the site shifted toward the domesticated species that formed the economic basis for the rise of village life and subsequent civilizations in the Near East. Plants including multiple forms of wheat, barley and lentils together with domestic animals later accompanied farmers as they spread across western Eurasia, gradually replacing the indigenous hunter-gather societies. Many of the plants that were domesticated in the Fertile Crescent form the economic basis for the world population today.

ScienceDaily: Agriculture and Food News