Saudis ‘bought 750,000 cars in 2013’

Updated 10 January 2014
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Saudis ‘bought 750,000 cars in 2013’

Saudi nationals purchased 750,000 cars in 2013, according to a top trade official.
“This is an increase of 6 percent from 2012,” said Faisal Abu Shousha, head of the National Committee for Automobile Agents at the Council of Saudi Chambers (CSC).
He added that the increase was 15 percent in Bahrain and 14 percent in the United States.
“Saudis buy Japanese cars as their first choice, followed by Korean and last, but not least, come the American cars,” said Abu Shousha.
According to him, Toyota’s sales in the Kingdom accounted for 38 percent of the market share, followed by Hyundai (20 percent), General Motors (9 percent), Ford (7 percent) and Kia (6 percent).
Abu Shousha seemed to be more optimistic about the future of automobile market in Saudi Arabia. “I expect the number of cars sold annually to reach one million in 2020,” he noted.
Abu Shousha supprted the moves made by the Saudi Standards, Metrology and Quality Organization to curb imports of cars that are more than five years old. “It is a positive step that aims to stop the importation of bad cars,” he added.
He said vehicles in the current Saudi markets are good in quality and shape, which make the competition more intense in the after-sale services.
“Maintenance involves about two-thirds of the agent’s investment,” he said.


Can a hungry Mali turn rice technology into ‘white gold’?

Updated 20 October 2018
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Can a hungry Mali turn rice technology into ‘white gold’?

  • Malians are cautiously turning to a controversial farming technique to adapt to the effects of climate change
  • Dubbed the System of Rice Intensification (SRI), the new method was pioneered in Madagascar in 1983

BAGUINEDA: When rice farmers started producing yields nine times larger than normal in the Malian desert near the famed town of Timbuktu a decade ago, a passerby could have mistaken the crop for another desert mirage.
Rather, it was the result of an engineering feat that has left experts in this impoverished nation in awe — but one that has yet to spread widely through Mali’s farming community.
“We must redouble efforts to get political leaders on board,” said Djiguiba Kouyaté, a coordinator in Mali for German development agency GIZ.
With hunger a constant menace, Malians are cautiously turning to a controversial farming technique to adapt to the effects of climate change.

 

Dubbed the System of Rice Intensification (SRI), the new method was pioneered in Madagascar in 1983. It involves planting fewer seeds of traditional rice varieties and taking care of them following a strict regime.
Seedlings are transplanted at a very young age and spaced widely. Soil is enriched with organic matter, and must be kept moist, though the system uses less water than traditional rice farming.
Up to 20 million farmers now use SRI in 61 countries, including in nearby Sierra Leone, Senegal and Ivory Coast, said Norman Uphoff, of the SRI International Network and Resources Center at Cornell University in the US.
But, despite its success, the technique has been embraced with varying degrees of enthusiasm. Uphoff said that is because it competes with the improved hybrid and inbred rice varieties that agricultural corporations sell.
For Faliry Boly, who heads a rice-growing association, the prospect of rice becoming a “white gold” for Mali should spur on authorities and farmers to adopt rice intensification.
The method could increase yields while also offering a more environmentally-friendly alternative, including by replacing chemical fertilizers with organic ones, he said.
He also pointed out that rice intensification naturally lends itself to Mali’s largely arid climate.

FACTOID

Up to 20 million farmers now use rice intensification in 61 countries, including in nearby Sierra Leone, Senegal and Ivory Coast.