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Turkish citrus exports up, shift east

Turkish citrus exports up, shift east

Short lemon crops in South America and South Africa has generated good opportunities for Turkish citrus exporters this season. Total lemon exports have been up this year, and prices have been good – though decreasing demand from Europe means more of Turkey’s exports are going to the Middle East and Asia.
 
“Our lemons have enjoyed high demand and good prices all over the global market,” said Ayse Ozler of Ozler. “Demand from the Middle East, Europe and Asia has been quite good, higher than in previous seasons, in fact.” Turkish lemon suppliers typically start exporting their fruit during September, about a month and a half before Spanish lemons edged them out of Europe. While prices at the beginning of that export window typically start at 0.70 Euro, prices this season were around 1.20 Euro at the outset of the season.
 
“Volumes from the Southern Hemisphere were low this year because of a frost in Argentina that cut their volumes by about 40 percent,” explained Ayse. “South African supplies of lemons also ran out early, so the gap in supplies was big, and prices for Turkish lemons were the highest we’ve seen.” Last year’s Turkish lemon crop was also affected by frost, so local demand was already strong when the export window came around, further driving up prices. The early boon resulted in 30 percent more lemon export volume out of Turkey, when compared to the previous season.
 
The situation is now different, with Spanish and Italian supplies driving Turkish citrus out of Europe for the year and bringing down prices. But Ayse explained that the importance of Europe is diminishing for Turkish growers. Competition from Spanish fruit and tightened regulations concerning maximum residue limits has steadily decreased the amount of fruit that Turkish exporters ship to Europe. Russia used to be a big market, but problems there, both recent and long-standing, have made it an unattractive destination for Turkish traders. The major areas of expansion are now the Middle East and Asia.
 
“Demand from Europe is reducing, which could be due to prices and the promotion that Spanish fruit gets,” said Ayse. “But the Middle East and Asia have been accepting of this and are curious about our citrus, so the demand there has been increasing as they are happy with the quality of our fruit.”

For more information:


Ayse Ozler
Özler Ziraat
Tel: +90-322-454-77-41
Email: [email protected]
www.hasat.net
 

Author: Yzza Ibrahim / Carlos Nunez


 

Publication date: 12/12/2014
Author: Yzza Ibrahim
Copyright: www.freshplaza.com


FreshPlaza.com

Climate change to shift Kenya’s breadbaskets

Sep. 16, 2013 — Kenyan farmers and agriculture officials need to prepare for a possible geographic shift in maize production as climate change threatens to make some areas of the country much less productive for cultivation while simultaneously making others more maize-friendly, according to a new report prepared by the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) and the Association for Strengthening Agricultural Research in Eastern and Central Africa (ASARECA).

The report, released today by the CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS) at a high-level event with Kenya’s agriculture and environment ministries, finds that overall, Kenyan farmers — who make up 75 percent of the country’s labor force — may not only survive, but could even thrive in the face of climate change. The authors caution that there is a “low adaptive capacity” in Kenya’s farming sector due to limited economic resources, heavy reliance on rainfed agriculture, frequent droughts and floods, and general poverty. But they believe there are reasons to be optimistic.

“As long as we offer farmers the right services and policies now, and more options in what they grow and where they grow it, Kenya can make a major transformation in its ability to cope with the changing climate,” said Timothy Thomas, a research fellow at IFPRI and co-author of the analysis. “Climate predictions for Kenya’s most important crop, for example, tell us where maize farmers may need to shift to other crops, where they might need to introduce drought-resistant varieties, and even new areas where maize can grow.”

The assessment of how shifting weather patterns could alter farming and food security in Kenya between now and 2050 is one chapter in an upcoming book produced by IFPRI and CCAFS, East African Agriculture and Climate Change, which examines country-by-country how future growing conditions, as well as shifting demographics, could affect crop production and food security. The chapter on Kenya will help frame Kenya’s landmark National Adaptation Planning (NAP) conference that gets underway today in Naivasha.

The NAP meeting is a collaborative effort organized by CCAFS and Kenya’s agriculture and environment ministries. It is the first in what is expected to be a series of consultations to consider how Kenya should proactively deal with food production challenges and opportunities presented by climate change. It is attracting representatives from government, farmer organizations, research institutes, agriculture-oriented industries, and civil society groups who are seeking consensus on agriculture-related actions to be included in Kenya’s National Climate Change Action Plan (NCCAP).

Crop models reveal opportunities for Kenyan agriculture

Predictions produced in the analysis of how climate change will affect farming in Kenya employed data from four different climate models to assess the impact on crop yields at over 6,000 locations.

One model revealed a potentially worrisome scenario: rising temperatures could make maize production impractical in parts of the Rift Valley Province and cause yields in Coast Province to fall as much as 25 percent. Another model offered a very different scenario. It showed growing conditions actually improving throughout the country, boosting maize yields everywhere, “including large areas with a yield increase of more than 25 percent.” Notably, all models showed rainfall increasing in certain arid and semi-arid regions of Kenya, such as Kitui, Samburu and Isiolo counties, which would allow maize to be grown in places that previously have been too dry to support the crop. Also, models showed that some areas in higher elevations, which may have been too cold for maize to thrive in the past, would be warm enough for maize to grow in the future.

“Despite the uncertainties, the science clearly shows us that big changes are likely to occur and we need to have a number of options available so farmers can adapt to the new conditions they will encounter,” said Michael Waithaka, a co-author of the report, who leads the Policy Analysis and Advocacy Program at ASARECA. “The best way to do that is to strengthen the agricultural research institutes, so they can develop new varieties and other innovations, and also support the extension services that are crucial to delivering new ideas and practices to farmers,” Waithaka added.

For example, Waithaka noted that if climate change stunts maize production in parts of Kenya, one option would be to help farmers migrate to new maize-friendly areas. Another option might be to help farmers find better crops to grow in their current locations. Waithaka said that, overall, it is important to help farmers improve their practices, diversify their crops, and adopt new varieties so they can boost food production even as growing conditions change.

The analysis also offers a mix of good news and bad news for another important food crop: wheat. It shows a potential for wheat yields to fall in areas north of Mount Kenya and east of Mount Elgon while increasing in “a small area of the Central Rift Valley and neighboring Central Province.”

Partners support “Climate Smart Villages” to prepare farmers

CCAFS is already working with the Kenyan government and other partners to ensure farmers are in a position to adapt to any changes that might occur. Researchers, development partners, and farmers have recently established “Climate Smart Villages” across East Africa. One climate smart village established in 2011 in Western Kenya’s Nyando Basin — one of the most food insecure regions of Kenya that is prone to droughts and flooding — is already seeing the benefits. Farmers are now using faster maturing Gala goats, red Maasai sheep and chickens, along with improved cassava varieties that resist a deadly virus. They also are growing high-value crops like tomatoes, onions and watermelons.

The Climate Smart Villages initiative is testing a range of crops, technologies and farming methods that are best suited for a particular community. Eventually, they could be adopted by farmers throughout Kenya to boost overall food production even in the face of more difficult growing conditions. For example, CCAFS is working with the Kenya Agricultural Research Institute (KARI) and the Ministry of Agriculture to introduce sorghum, pigeon peas, cowpeas, green grams and sweet potatoes to supplement maize and other traditional staples.

“By supporting the creation of climate-smart villages and pursuing this very inclusive adaptation planning process, Kenya is leading by example for how we can ensure African farmers are prepared for climate change,” said James Kinyangi, CCAFS regional program leader for East Africa. “Kenya’s leadership in adaptation planning is particularly important,” he added, “given that international negotiations to mitigate the effect of climate change by reducing greenhouse gas emissions are basically at a stand-still.”

ScienceDaily: Agriculture and Food News

Why crop rotation works: Change in crop species causes shift in soil microbes

July 18, 2013 — Crop rotation has been used since Roman times to improve plant nutrition and to control the spread of disease. A new study to be published in Nature’s The ISME Journal reveals the profound effect it has on enriching soil with bacteria, fungi and protozoa.

“Changing the crop species massively changes the content of microbes in the soil, which in turn helps the plant to acquire nutrients, regulate growth and protect itself against pests and diseases, boosting yield,” said Professor Philip Poole from the John Innes Centre.

Soil was collected from a field near Norwich and planted with wheat, oats and peas. After growing wheat, it remained largely unchanged and the microbes in it were mostly bacteria. However, growing oat and pea in the same sample caused a huge shift towards protozoa and nematode worms. Soil grown with peas was highly enriched for fungi.

“The soil around the roots was similar before and after growing wheat, but peas and oats re-set of the diversity of microbes,” said Professor Poole.

All organisms on our planet can be divided between prokaryotes (which include bacteria) and eukaryotes (which include humans, plants and animals as well as fungi). After only four weeks of growth, the soil surrounding wheat contained about 3% eukaryotes. This went up to 12-15% for oat and pea. The change of balance is likely to be even more marked in the field where crops are grown for months rather than weeks.

Analysis has previously relied on amplifying DNA samples. This limits scientists to analysing one taxonomic group at a time such as bacteria. It also means that everything present in that group is analysed rather than what is playing an active role. Every gram of soil contains over 50,000 species of bacteria so the task is enormous.

There are relatively fewer actively expressed genes, or RNA. It is now possible to sequence RNA across kingdoms so a full snapshot can be taken of the active bacteria, fungi, protozoa and other microbes in the soil. The research was carried out in collaboration with the University of East Anglia and The Genome Analysis Centre on Norwich Research Park.

“By sequencing RNA, we can look at the big picture of active microbes in the soil,” said PhD student Tom Turner from the John Innes Centre.

“This also allows us to work out what they are doing there, including how they might be helping the plants out.”

“Our work helps explain the experience of farmers in the field,” said Professor Poole.

“The best seed needs to be combined with the best agronomic practices to get the full potential benefits.”

“While continued planting of one species in monoculture pulls the soil in one direction, rotating to a different one benefits soil health.”

Seeds can be inoculated with bacteria before planting out, just like humans taking a dose of friendly bacteria. But this does not achieve the diversity or quantity of microbes found in this study.

The scientists also grew an oat variety unable to produce normal levels of avenacin, a compound that protects roots from fungal pathogens. They expected the soil to contain higher levels of fungi as a result, but instead found it contained a greater diversity of other eukaryotes such as protozoa.

The findings of the study could be used to develop plant varieties that encourage beneficial microbes in the soil. John Innes Centre scientists are already investigating the possibility of engineering cereal crops able to associate with the nitrogen-fixing bacteria normally associated with peas.

“Small changes in plant genotype can have complex and unexpected effects on soil microbes surrounding the roots,” said Professor Poole.

“Scientists, breeders and farmers can make the most of these effects not only with what they grow but how they grow it.”

ScienceDaily: Agriculture and Food News