Saudi firm moves toward 100% use of imported animal feeds

Updated 15 April 2014
0

Saudi firm moves toward 100% use of imported animal feeds

The Almarai Company has decided to stop the cultivation of fodder for animals and import it from abroad instead owing to the scarcity of water sources in the Kingdom.
Abdul Rahman Al-Fadhli, CEO of Almarai, said the company currently imports 100 percent of the animal feed to produce milk. Almarai is also developing an operational plan to stop the local cultivation of fodder and cover the entire needs of the domestic market by importing all products.
“Almarai is the first dairy company in Saudi Arabia which has started importing feed from abroad where the company has invested in Argentina, the United States and several European countries,” Al-Fadhli said.
Almarai has recently received the first shipment of feed estimated at 39 thousand tons coming from farms owned by the company in Argentina.
According to a recent scientific study 96 percent of water consumption in the dairy sector is provided for the cultivation of fodder, while this percentage can be provided through a plan to import feed from abroad. The study that was conducted by Saudi researchers in cooperation with specialized US companies estimated that the amount of water consumed in the dairy sector accounts for about 3.1 percent of the total consumption of the agricultural sector which consumes 16 billion cubic meters a year.
Meanwhile, the Saudi government has decided to invest in agricultural development abroad and strengthen Saudi Arabia’s position in this regard. Experts claim that the project, entitled the King Abdullah Initiative for Saudi Agricultural Investment Abroad will help secure national food security.
Dr. Riyadh Abu Mansour, an economic expert and CEO of Al-Belad Company for Investments said, “Several Saudi food firms had invested in Sudan, Lebanon, Syria and Egypt but the bad political situation of these countries had forced Saudi investors to look for other alternatives. Pakistan is one of these options especially as there are many Saudi agricultural investments which have seen successful results during the last ten years.”
Speaking to Arab News, he said “About 25 percent of Saudi agriculture firms have also started investing in Australia to import wheat, while there are other local firms which are interested in investing more in EU countries.”
Until six years ago, the Kingdom’s policy makers advocated self sufficiency for its local wheat cultivation, as well as some other products such as milk, meat and eggs. However, as it became clear that levels of subsidies required for farmers and limited water resources were making domestic wheat production unviable, the government decided to gradually wind down operations and opt instead to meet their wheat requirements through imports.
The Kingdom is expected to phase out domestic wheat production completely by 2016 as farmers are encouraged to shift their focus toward alternative crops. At the same time, wheat imports are increasing rapidly as the government looks to bridge the widening gap between falling domestic production and rising demand. Saudi Arabia is expected to import 1.96 million tones of wheat for human consumption within the period 2012 to 2014, according to estimates of the local office of the US Department of agriculture.
“Agriculture investments abroad depend on buying a large area of land in countries which have natural sources to develop an agriculture industry. Therefore, the best way to ensure food security is to invest in those countries through buying agriculture lands,” Dr. Naser Al-Boqami told Arab News.
A number of Saudi companies decided early to invest in Sudan as is evident from the recent acquisition of agricultural lands covering an area of approximately 4,000 acres in Sudan’s northern region by four Saudi companies to raise various crops. The region has so far attracted 32 investment projects from the Arabian Gulf countries, covering an approximate area of 14 million acres, all located in the upper areas of the river Nile.


UK jobless rate falls to new 43-year-low, but pay growth weakens

Updated 14 August 2018
0

UK jobless rate falls to new 43-year-low, but pay growth weakens

  • The figures painted a largely familiar picture of a tight labor market — including a record number of job vacancies — failing to translate into strong wage growth
  • Total annual wage growth slowed to a nine-month low of 2.4 percent, below forecasts for it to hold at 2.5 percent

LONDON: Britain’s unemployment rate fell to its lowest in over 43 years in the three months to June and fewer workers made do with insecure jobs, but there was little upside for most as pay growth slowed to its weakest in nine months.
Tuesday’s official figures also showed the sharpest annual decline in the number of EU workers in Britain since 1997, continuing a trend seen since the 2016’s vote to leave the EU, and a pick-up in annual productivity growth.
Despite some positive elements, the figures painted a largely familiar picture of a tight labor market — including a record number of job vacancies — failing to translate into strong wage growth.
Britain’s economy warmed up a little in the second quarter from its winter slowdown of early 2018, official data showed last week, but there was no sign of an end to its lackluster performance in the run-up to next March’s Brexit.
“This will not be what the Bank of England will have wanted to see, as one of the justifications for (its) decision to hike rates earlier this month was that it was expecting wage growth to start lifting off.
This hasn’t happened yet,” said Emma-Lou Montgomery, an associate director at Fidelity International.
The BoE raised interest rates on Aug. 2 for only the second time since the financial crisis.
Tuesday’s data showed productivity grew at its fastest annual rate since late 2016 and the number of people whose main job was an insecure zero-hours contract fell by the most since 2000, the Office for National Statistics said.
The unemployment rate fell to 4.0 percent in the April-June period, the Office for National Statistics said.
That was the lowest since the three months to February 1975 and beat economists’ forecasts in a Reuters poll for it to hold steady at a previous low of 4.2 percent.
The drop came despite a smaller-than-expected number of jobs created over the three-month period, 42,000 — less than half the average forecast by economists in a Reuters poll.
Sterling briefly rose above $1.28 against a broadly weaker dollar, as Tuesday’s data helped a struggling pound move away from 13-month lows plumbed last week.
Total annual wage growth slowed to a nine-month low of 2.4 percent, below forecasts for it to hold at 2.5 percent.
The ONS said changes to the timing of annual bonus payments was partly responsible.
Excluding bonuses, pay growth fell to 2.7 percent, well below the 4 percent rate typical before the financial crisis a decade ago.
Output per hour worked grew by 1.5 percent year-on-year in the April-June period, the biggest increase since late 2016 after a 0.9 percent rise in the first quarter of 2018.
With less than eight months until Britain is due to leave the European Union, the ONS data showed an acceleration of EU nationals leaving Britain’s workforce.
In the second quarter there were 2.35 million EU nationals working in Britain, down 86,000 on a year ago, the largest fall since records began.
“Shortages are already hampering firms’ ability to compete and create jobs, so it’s vital that the UK pursues an open and controlled post-Brexit immigration policy,” Matthew Percival, head of employment at the Confederation of British Industry, said.
The number of nationals from the eight East European countries that joined the EU in 2004 fell by 117,000, an 11.7 percent drop on the year. That was partly offset by a 54,000 increase in Romanians and Bulgarians.
The number of workers employed on often-precarious zero-hours contracts fell to 780,000, or 2.4 percent of the workforce, the lowest since 2015.