Ministry of Agriculture to promote sea food consumption

Updated 05 December 2014
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Ministry of Agriculture to promote sea food consumption

The Ministry of Agriculture has stepped up efforts to halt the decline in seafood consumption and to boost fish production, which will go a long way in ensuring food security on national and regional levels. The ministry has also announced an ambitious target to produce one million tons of fish annually within a few years from now.
Ahmed bin Saleh Al-Aiadh, general director of aquaculture department at the Ministry of Agriculture, said here Wednesday that "the per capita consumption of fish and fish products stands at 9 to 10 kilograms annually in Saudi Arabia compared to about 62 kgs in Japan." He said: "We are also much below the global average in terms of consumption.”
Al-Aiadh was speaking at a press briefing after formally inaugurating the “Sea Food Festival” here at the Lulu Hypermarket. The inaugural event was attended by a large number of guests and top Lulu executives including Abdul Saleem, Lulu's regional manager; Shafeek Rahman, commercial manager; and Bashar Naser Al-Bashar, chief of administration.
Asked about move to promote sea food consumption in Saudi Arabia, Al-Aiadh said that "it’s a shared responsibility." He called on the private sector, the health professionals, the nutritionists and the media to join hands to generate awareness about the benefits of fish and fish products. He also called on them for reversing the decline in fish consumption among the younger generation.
He pointed out that the Saudi government has licensed several aquaculture farms in the Kingdom. To this end, it must be noted that the Ministry of Agriculture has already invested an additional $10.6 billion into aquaculture projects to produce one million tons of fish in the next 16 years.
Speaking at the press briefing, Abdul Saleem, Lulu regional manager, said that a variety of sea food including fish biryani, grilled sea food and fish sandwiches are also on sale. He pointed out that this is the fourth consecutive year for Lulu to hold the sea food festival in Saudi Arabia. The five-day long festival has been organized by all the Lulu Hypermarkets across the Kingdom.
Besides showcasing more than 100 varieties of fish including live fish for sale on this occasion, Lulu Hypermarkets across the Kingdom have organized colorful activities for kids and families on this occasion. A cooking contest has also been organized on the sidelines of the festival. "A variety of sea food including fish biryani, grilled sea food and fish sandwiches are also on sale," added Saleem.
He said that the festival is unique in the sense that it features some of the rare fish species imported from different corners of the world. They include Norwegian salmon, Egyptian tilapia, crabs, live lobsters, shrimps, oyster, cod fillet, and Canadian lobster.


Microsoft tops $1 trillion as it predicts more cloud growth

Updated 18 min 3 sec ago
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Microsoft tops $1 trillion as it predicts more cloud growth

BENGALURU/SAN FRANCISCO: Microsoft Corp. on Wednesday briefly topped $1 trillion in value for the first time after executives predicted continued growth for its cloud computing business.
The Redmond, Washington-based company beat Wall Street estimates for quarterly profit and revenue, powered by an unexpected boost in Windows revenue and brisk growth in its cloud business which has reached tens of billions of dollars in sales.
Microsoft shares rose 4.4% to $130.54 in late trading after the forecast issued on a conference call with investors, pushing the company ahead of Apple Inc’s $980 billion market capitalization. The companies and Amazon.com Inc. have taken turns in recent months to rank as the world’s most valuable US-listed company.
Microsoft’s stock has gained about 23% gain so far this year, after hitting a record high of $125.85 during regular trading hours.
Under Chief Executive Satya Nadella, the company has spent the past five years shifting from reliance on its once-dominant Windows operating system to selling cloud-based services.
Azure, Microsoft’s flagship cloud product, competes with market leader Amazon Web Services (AWS) to provide computing power to businesses.
Growth in that unit slowed to 73% in the third quarter ended March 31 from 76% in the second quarter. Mike Spencer, Microsoft’s head of investor relations, said the decline was roughly in line with the company’s estimate.
Christopher Eberle, a senior equity analyst with Nomura, said that with Azure, “one should assume a slower rate of growth as we move forward, simply due to the law of large numbers.” Still, Azure will bring in $13.5 billion in sales in fiscal 2019 with an overall growth rate of 75%, he estimated. “I can’t name another company of that scale growing at these rates.”
Microsoft tops tech rivals such as Amazon in market capitalization on some days despite having less revenue, partly because most of its sales is to businesses, which tend to be steadier customers than consumers. A growing proportion of Microsoft’s software sales are billed as recurring subscription purchases, which are more reliable than one-time purchases.
Microsoft’s earnings per share of $1.14 beat expectations of $1 according to IBES data from Refinitiv.
Windows licensing revenue from computer makers grew 9% year over year, beating expectations after a 5% decline in the previous quarter. Spencer said a shortage of Intel Corp. processor chips for PCs that many analysts expected to last into this summer had been resolved earlier than expected, allowing PC makers to ship more machines.
Microsoft’s “commercial cloud” revenue — which includes business use of Azure, Office 365 and LinkedIn — was $9.6 billion this quarter, up 41% from the previous year but down slightly from the 48% growth rate the previous quarter.
Microsoft’s so-called “intelligent cloud” unit, which contains its Azure services, posted revenue of $9.65 billion, above Wall Street estimates of $9.28 billion, according to IBES data from Refinitiv. Chief Financial Officer Amy Hood said that unit could reach $11.05 billion in revenue in the fiscal fourth quarter.
The “productivity and business process” unit that includes both Office as well as social network LinkedIn had $10.2 billion revenue versus expectations of $10.05 billion.
Microsoft’s latest results contained two weak spots.
Its gaming revenue was up only 5% versus 8% the quarter before, which Spencer attributed to less revenue from third-party game developers and the fact that many gamers are delaying purchases of Microsoft’s Xbox console because a new model is expected soon.
Sales of the company’s Surface hardware grew 21% versus 39% the quarter before, also because customers waited for updated hardware they expected to be released soon.
Total revenue rose 14% to $30.57 billion, beating analysts’ average estimate of $29.84 billion according to IBES data from Refinitiv.
Net income rose to $8.81 billion, or $1.15 per share, from $7.42 billion, or 96 cents per share, a year earlier.