Istanbul airport gains transit passenger share from Gulf

Flight bookings for passengers changing planes in Istanbul in the first quarter of 2018 are currently up 21 percent compared with the same time last year. (Reuters)
Updated 08 February 2018
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Istanbul airport gains transit passenger share from Gulf

BERLIN: Major airports in the Gulf are losing out to Istanbul on lucrative transfer traffic this year as Turkey recovers from security worries, according to data from travel data analysis company Forward Keys.
Turkey is enjoying a recovery in tourism demand, with tour operator Thomas Cook on Thursday calling it the standout destination for this summer.
“In addition to the success of various routes, Istanbul’s growth has been helped by a reduction in terrorist incidents in Turkey,” Forward Keys CEO Olivier Jager said.
Flight bookings for passengers changing planes in Istanbul in the first quarter of 2018 are currently up 21 percent compared with the same time last year, Forward Keys said.
Transfer bookings for Dubai are down 0.5 percent, while for Abu Dhabi they are 14 percent lower. Doha, which has been hit by an embargo from four other Arab nations, managed to keep transfer traffic flat, according to Forward Keys, which analyzes more than 17 million flight booking transactions a day.
Passengers in transit can bring extra revenue for airports because they often spend their time shopping or eating.


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.