Almarai buys land in California to grow fodder

Updated 11 January 2016

Almarai buys land in California to grow fodder

JEDDAH: Saudi Arabia’s Almarai Co, the largest dairy company in the Gulf, has spent $31.8 million to buy land in California to supply its business with alfalfa hay, it said.
The 1,790 acres of land, acquired through Almarai’s Fondomonte California LLC operation and located in Blythe in the southeast corner of the US state, was financed through its own resources, the company said in a statement to the Saudi bourse.
Almarai, which already owns land in Arizona, said the purchase was part of efforts to secure high-quality hay from outside Saudi Arabia, in line with Saudi government policy.
Saudi Arabia is phasing out the growing of crops and fodder because of the strain such cultivation places on scarce water resources in the Kingdom.
The cultivation of green fodder will end in the next three years, a December cabinet statement said.
Almarai’s costs will increase by SR200 million ($53 million) this year because of the ban on green fodder, with the amount rising each year until the company imports all its green fodder by 2019, it said in a separate bourse filing.
The purchase comes at a time when California is suffering its own water shortages.
The state is in its fourth year of drought conditions, forcing residents and businesses to curtail water usage.
California’s drought is expected to have cost the state’s economy an estimated $2.74 billion last year, with farmers having to fallow 542,000 acres of land because of dry conditions and difficulty obtaining water for irrigation, according to research from the University of California, Davis.


BT warns UK that banning Huawei too fast could cause outages

Updated 10 min 25 sec ago

BT warns UK that banning Huawei too fast could cause outages

  • Prime Minister Boris Johnson is due to decide this week whether to impose tougher restrictions on Huawei
  • British PM in January granted Huawei a limited role in the 5G network

LONDON: BT CEO Philip Jansen urged the British government on Monday not to move too fast to ban China’s Huawei from the 5G network, cautioning that there could be outages and even security issues if it did.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson is due to decide this week whether to impose tougher restrictions on Huawei, after intense pressure from the United States to ban the Chinese telecoms behemoth from Western 5G networks.
Johnson in January defied President Donald Trump and granted Huawei a limited role in the 5G network, but the perception that China did not tell the whole truth over the coronavirus crisis and a row over Hong Kong has changed the mood in London.
“If you are to try not to have Huawei at all, ideally we would want seven years and we could probably do it in five,” Jansen told BBC radio.
Asked what the risks would be if telecoms operators were told to do it in less than five years, Jansen said: “We need to make sure that any change of direction does not lead to more risk in the short term.”
“If we get to a situation where things need to go very, very fast, then you are into a situation where potentially service for 24 million BT Group mobile customers is put into question — outages,” he said.
In what some have compared to the Cold War antagonism with the Soviet Union, the United States is worried that 5G dominance is a milestone toward Chinese technological supremacy that could define the geopolitics of the 21st century.
The United States says Huawei is an agent of the Chinese Communist State and cannot be trusted.
Huawei, the world’s biggest producer of telecoms equipment, has said the United States wants to frustrate its growth because no US company could offer the same range of technology at a competitive price.