Archive for the ‘AGRICULTURE’ Category


Thursday, July 29th, 2010

Big Narrikup dairy up for sale in WA

RACHEL DONKIN, The West Australian July 21, 2010, 7:13 am

Ravenhill Dairy marketing manager Rhys Ravenhill with some of the milkers at Narrikup.
Danella Bevis / Danella Bevis ©

Thirsty? How about a glass or two of milk? Milking cows a plenty.

Graham and Jan Ravenhill produce eight million litres of the white stuff at their dairy farm at Narrikup, near Mt Barker, which they have decided to put on the market as their three sons forge their own paths in business.

But the couple will leave a little bit of themselves behind when they walk away from the operation.

After setting up at Narrikup with a handful of cows 19 years ago, Ravenhill Dairy now lays claim to being the third-biggest operation in the State, with the 950ha farm’s 1100 cows producing 2.5 per cent of all milk produced in the State (about 320 million litres).

WA accounts for about 170 of the more than 10,000 dairy farms across the country, which together produce enough product to give Australia the title of the world’s second-biggest dairy exporter.

Although about 50 per cent of the milk produced at Ravenhill is exported through the Challenge Dairy Co-operative, the business also has a retail presence, the result of a decision six years ago to establish a processing plant and branch out into branded products.

Ravenhill Dairy milk – the family also tried its hand at yoghurt but it proved less profitable – can now be bought across the counter at most retail outlets in the Albany region.

The Ravenhill name has been linked to milk since 1925, when Graham’s grandfather began a small dairy near Walpole.

But with their three sons ready to head in different directions – Bevan is a dairy farmer in his own right, Ken is focused on cropping and Rhys will pursue interests outside agribusiness – the Ravenhills say they are now looking forward to trying out the ‘nine-to-five’ existence that is so familiar to city folk.

The family declined to discuss the sale price.
Sourced & published by Henry Sapiecha


Thursday, July 29th, 2010

FIRB approves US deal for TFS

The West Australian June 7, 2010, 8:50 am

Private forestry group WA Sandalwood Plantations has signed bigger rival TFS Corporation as a significant investor in a landmark deal aimed at increasing its exposure to institutional investors.Danella Bevis / Danella Bevis ©

WA sandalwood grower TFS Corporation says the Foreign Investment Review Board has approved an investment management agreement between it and a US-based institutional investor.

Under the agreement, which TFS announced on May 26, TFS will manage a 180-hectare Indian sandalwood plantation to be planted this year.

Investment by the US-based institution over the life of the plantation, excluding performance bonuses to TFS, is anticipated to be around $20 million.

The investment could grow by another $100 million if an option is exercised to plant an extra 180 hectares per annum for the next five years to 2015.

The agreement is subject to and conditional upon the settlement of a related land acquisition agreement with TFS.

The land acquisition agreement was conditional upon the investor obtaining FIRB approval.

Under the deal, TFS is paid an upfront payment for the purchase of the land and establishment of the plantation, annual payments for plantation management, and a performance bonus upon a hurdle rate of return being achieved by the investor.
Sourced & published by Henry Sapiecha


Thursday, July 29th, 2010

Soaring cocoa price

to hit chocolate makers

ROWENA MASON & AMANDA SAUNDERS, The West Australian June 8, 2010, 7:05 am

A soaring price for cocoa is expected to make chocolate more expensive.WA News / Robert Duncan ©

A shortage of cocoa is threatening to force prices for chocolate higher.

Cocoa prices are at their highest levels since 1977, mainly because of a plant disease blighting the crops of thousands of cocoa growers in the Ivory Coast, which accounts for almost 40 per cent of the 3.5 million tonnes of cocoa that end up as plastic-packaged chocolate bars and luxury boxes of truffles across the globe.

Swollen-shoot viral disease, heavy rain and poor infrastructure have cut the Ivory Coast’s production by 20,000 tonnes compared with the year before. The crop failures, together with a forecast fifth year in which cocoa demand will outstrip supply, have sent cocoa futures soaring.

In early trading last night, the benchmark contract for cocoa on the London International Financial Futures and Options Exchange was at a 33-year high of £2553 a tonne, up from just £600/t only 10 years ago.

Margaret River Chocolate Company co-owner Martin Black said the retailer had felt upward price pressure from suppliers for the past six months, with wholesale prices for cocoa rising 10 to 15 per cent over the period.

“We haven’t let it affect our prices at a retail level and are just hoping that the fluctuations in the markets will pan out again,” he said.

“But if it continues on this upward trend for another few months we will probably have to start reviewing some of our in-store prices.”

The Margaret River Chocolate Company’s main supplier is international cocoa giant Barry Callebaut, which sources about 90 per cent of its product from Africa. However, Mr Black said the biggest issue facing the company was futures trading in cocoa, which had hurt the chocolate industry.

“Most of the cocoa trading done in recent years is not among people who use cocoa, it is speculators and traders seeking a safe haven away from equity markets and property markets,” he said. “It artificially inflates prices for the people who want to buy cocoa to make and sell chocolate.”

One rumour sweeping London last week was that a major trading house had bought a very large position in cocoa for delivery in July, throttling liquidity in the market and driving up prices.

Jenni Blance, an owner of Chokeby Road in Subiaco, said it was possible the price of stock would rise next financial year if suppliers passed on increased costs. She said Lindt had already signalled it was increasing prices for its bars and Chokeby Road would have no choice but to pass on the rise next month.

Mr Black said sales at the Margaret River Chocolate Company, which sells about 100 tonnes of chocolate a year, had held up well over the past two years, despite tougher economic conditions.

“People are acquiring a taste for better-quality chocolate, so we have found even though the market has been tough globally for the last couple of years and the price of sugar and milk are also peaking at the moment, sales are holding up relatively well,” he said.

Sourced & published by Henry Sapiecha


Friday, February 26th, 2010



The commodity market activity  throughout the world has to keep moving between countries to ensure that all have a share of the global wealth and resources.

There are some who are not ‘pulling their weight whilst others are producing abundantly. These things are like that for different reasons.

Here we will bring them and others, together at a common market place where all can exchange goods and or services or sell for cash to the highest bidder or ready buyer.


Henry Sapiecha