Qatar market dragged down by No. 2 bank

Traders monitor screens displaying stock information at Qatar Stock Exchange in Doha. (Reuters)
Updated 17 January 2018
0

Qatar market dragged down by No. 2 bank

DUBAI: Gulf stock markets were mixed on Wednesday with Masraf Al Rayan, Qatar’s second-largest bank by market value, pulling the Qatari stock index 0.2 percent lower.
Shares in Masraf Al Rayan sank 2.7 percent after the bank reported a 9.6 percent drop in fourth-quarter net profit to 466 million riyals, below an average 562.5 million riyal forecast by three analysts polled by Reuters.
Qatar National Bank also missed forecasts with a 5.2 percent rise in fourth-quarter net profit to 2.85 billion riyals ($783 million). But the Gulf’s largest lender raised its cash dividend for 2017 to 6 riyals per share and its stock was up 0.7 percent.
Among the gainers, Medicare Group surged 7.0 percent in its heaviest trade since March; it has doubled from its November low.
Saudi Arabia’s index closed 0.1 percent higher at 7,540 points, coming off the day’s high after approaching major technical resistance on last July’s peak of 7,586 points.
Top petrochemical producer Saudi Basic Industries gained 0.8 percent, while Saudi Automotive Services rose 1.0 percent after estimating its annual net profit expanded 15 percent, on an 11 percent gain in sales.
In Dubai, the index rose 0.5 percent as the most heavily traded stock, Union Properties, gained 0.9 percent. Emaar Malls was the top performer, adding 2.2 percent, although trading volume fell from Tuesday’s level, which was the highest since early 2016.


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

Updated 20 October 2018
0

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.