Daily Archives: August 1, 2016

TractorExport LLC Has Signed a Three-Year $70M Repair and Maintenance Agreement With Gabon-Based SOTRADER

CORAL GABLES, Florida, Aug. 1, 2016 /PRNewswire/ — TractorExport LLC, an international agricultural supply company located in Coral Gables, Florida, has entered into an agreement with Societe Gabonaise De Transformation Agricol (SOTRADER), a joint venture between Olam International and the government of Gabon, to service 375 Cat dozers and excavators over the next three years.

In this three-year $70M agreement, Tractor Export will service 375 Cat dozers and excavators used for clearing land for the SOTRADER Project which is designed to create individual farming opportunity for the citizens of Gabon.  This is the third of such agreements Tractor Export has signed involving Singapore-based Olam International. Currently, TractorExport LLC has 40 mechanics on the ground in Gabon serving a fleet of 250 Komatsu dozers and will be adding another 20 mechanics in connection with the new Caterpillar agreement.

“We are excited to announce this third partnership we have developed with Olam International,” says Steve Massey, CEO of Tractor Export. “We see an incredible amount of agricultural development through Africa and we are excited to be part of it.”

TractorExport LLC has a long history of providing equipment, parts and services to customer located in countries across the African continent. The company initially focused on suppling high-quality low-hour used combines, tractors, implements and parts to customers in Latin America and Africa. Lately, TractorExport LLC has become more involved in supplying parts and service on site to its international customers. With the addition of on-site teams and inventories, the company ensures their clients receive the equipment uptime availability they would expect from brand-new equipment.

“We have found we can save our clients 30% to 50% over new equipment purchased locally,” Massey stated. “The traditional dealer model does not work in these developing countries. We provide a different model that emphasizes on-site parts and service in remote areas. That type of support multiplies the cost effectiveness of our low-hour combines and tractors. When you combine price and value of high quality low-hour equipment plus on-site support and service, you just can’t beat the cost-efficiency combination,” Massey stated.

For TractorExport’s initial project in Gabon, its team of mechanics was able to increase the availability of the customer’s fleet of 250 Komatsu dozers, located in the Gabon jungle, from 45% to 85% within 6 months. To accomplish this, the company supplied 30 on-site mechanics, supervisors and complete parts support.

For the SOTRADER project TractorExport is supplying on-site parts, warehousing and field equipment including full-service mechanic trucks, lube trucks and crane trucks to SOTRADER’s 5 sites located throughout the Gabon countryside.

About Tractor Export
TractorExport is an international agricultural supply company located in Coral Gables, Florida.  TractorExport supports and sells John Deere, Case, JCB, Komatsu, and Caterpillar heavy equipment, agricultural implements, and parts. For more information, visit TractorExport.com.

About Olam International
Olam International is a leading agri-business operating from seed to shelf in 70 countries, supplying food and industrial raw materials to over 16,200 customers worldwide. The company has built a leadership position in many businesses including cocoa, coffee, cashew, rice and cotton.

SOTRADER is a public-private partnership between the Government of Republic of Gabon and Olam International. SOTRADER aims to develop smallholders’ agricultural programs such as GRAINE (Gabon Agricultural Achievements and Initiatives National Engages) and promote sustainable development that benefits the local population of Gabon.

Contact Information

Viviana Malagon
TractorExport LLC
2020 Ponce De Leon Boulevard
Suite 1005A
Coral Gables, FL 33134
United States
+1 (786) 375-5409

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Minister Edna Molewa supports Safe Paraffin Appliance Campaign

The Minister of Environmental Affairs, Mrs Edna Molewa, supports the Safe Paraffin Appliance Campaign launched by the Department of Trade and Industry on 27 July 2016.

The Campaign is aimed at raising levels of awareness about illegal manufacturing and distribution of unsafe paraffin products, such as sub-standard paraffin stoves.

“The Safe Paraffin Appliance Campaign is an indication of the commitment by government to ensure that particularly disadvantaged communities are safer and less likely to lose their homes to fires in winter. It is also in line with the Draft Strategy to Address Air Pollution in Dense Low-Income Settlements that is aimed at introducing a coordinated government approach to reducing air pollution,” said Minister Molewa.

Air pollution monitoring data has shown that there are some geographic areas within the country, where ambient air quality standards are being exceeded and this is posing a threat to human health and the environment in those areas.

The household use of some fossil fuels, or dirty fuels, are a major contributor to ambient air quality standards being exceeded in residential areas.

While the problem of residential air pollution is more often than not, associated dense low-income settlements, living conditions and the ability of poorer communities to afford cleaner energy resources are also major contributors.

Air pollution is known to cause illnesses such bronchitis, asthma exacerbation, underweight babies cardiovascular diseases, etc. and death.

The evidence of negative health impacts and mortality from domestic fuel burning is in South Africa has not been properly documented but the existence of these negative impacts cannot be disputed. People living below the poverty line bear practically the entire burden of this health risk. The additional illness- related costs to those affected terms of diminished quality of life and lost capacity to work are also significant.

According to the Draft Strategy to Address Air Pollution in Dense Low-Income Settlements, a local study revealed air pollution related health can cost government approximately R2 Billion per year especially in the winter months (May -July).

To address this, the Draft Strategy for Addressing Air Pollution in Dense Low-Income Communities of South Africa was published in Government Gazette No. 40088 (Notice 356 of 2016) for public comment earlier this month.

The public have until 23 August 2016 to submit comments on the proposed strategy that seeks to provide a dedicated, focused approach to deal with high levels of pollution in some of the densely populated low-income communities.

This will support the suite of existing instruments to reduce air pollution in the country, which include emissions standards set in terms of the Air Quality Act to control industrial emissions, alternative energy strategies implemented by Department of Energy, air quality offsets implemented by industries etc.

Past and present air quality monitoring data has shown that air quality in various South African communities is not in compliance with National Ambient Air Quality Standards. This means that people living in those communities are not enjoying their Constitutional right to air that is not harmful to health and well-being. For most of these areas, air quality standards are usually exceeded during winter months as more people start burning fossil fuels to warm their homes.

The burning of fossil fuels, particularly coal, wood and paraffin for cooking and heating in the homes, is one of the contributors to poor air. Fossil fuel burning contributes to emissions that pollute the air at the breathing zone and therefore results in adverse health impacts for both adults and children. Those with pre-existing respiratory disorders such as asthma and cancer are worst affected.

The proposed Strategy emphasises a coordinated approach to dealing with air quality concerns and reducing emissions from household fuel burning. This includes cooperation between the Departments of Environmental Affairs, Health, Human Settlement and trade and industry, as well as provincial departments, municipalities, industry, Non-Governmental and Community-Based Organisations.

“The Safe Paraffin Appliance Campaign is encouraging as it supports the proposal in the Draft Strategy for the use of technology to meet required energy output without comprising the level of convenience for communities, particularly those reliant on braziers that are more often than not the cause of devastating fires in informal settlements,” said Minister Molewa.

Among the proposals in the Draft Strategy are the use of Solar Water Heating systems in low-income communities, and the implementation of, and research into, clean stoves for cooking and clean fuels for those stoves.

Conditions in provinces

Drought still persists in many areas. The conditions of veld and livestock remain poor to very poor in communal areas but reasonable in other areas.

Occurrence of snow has been reported in KwaZulu-Natal. There were incidents of veld fires in Free State and KwaZulu-Natal. Swine fever was reported Free State and North West, and resulted in mortalities in Free State.

Also in the Free State, reports of mortality of pigs due to an unknown disease have been received, while in North West mortalities were as a result of consumption of poisonous plants.

The veterinary service is investigating in the Free State. Although water levels have improved in major dams in some provinces as a result of recent rain, they remain lower as compared to the previous year during the same period.

3. Market information

Major grain commodities

ABSA stated that maize prices traded lower and that there is a significant shortage of maize which is expected to boost exports to neighbouring countries.

It is expected that harvesting will weigh on the market and that the stronger rand will put pressure on prices.

Wheat prices traded lower and it is expected that the Rand could put pressure on prices.

Soybean prices were lower and as a result of harvesting nearing, the price of soya is anticipated to soften however the weakening rand will support prices.

4. Livestock domestic markets

ABSA stated that class A beef prices improved and prices are expected to follow a sideways movement in the short term and also recover in the coming weeks as warmer temperatures are approaching following cold temperatures during winter.

Mutton prices weakened due to higher slaughtering numbers and prices are expected to recover in the next few weeks as warmer temperatures are approaching. Pork prices were mixed, porker prices were higher while baconer prices were lower.

Prices can trade sideways to lower following seasonal trends, but an upward pressure in prices is expected towards the end of the year.

Poultry prices are lower; the supplies remain in abundance and this is putting pressure to market. It is expected that prices will continue to fall due to higher supplies which are met by weak demand.

5. SADC region

The June Famine Early Warning Systems Network (FEW NET) report mentioned that following an El NiAo-induced drought, Southern Africa is experiencing one of its poorest harvests in recent years, and an upsurge in households facing acute food insecurity.

FEWS NET estimates that a higher than normal number of people are currently facing acute food insecurity and about 17 million people will be in Crisis (IPC Phase 3) between January-March 2017, requiring immediate assistance.

At the height of the harvest period, many poor households in Zimbabwe, Malawi, Mozambique, Madagascar, Lesotho, and Swaziland currently face Crisis (IPC Phase 3) food insecurity outcomes.

Households in these countries are facing consumption gaps because they did not produce much staple this season and labour incomes are well-below average, constraining food access for households that are relying on market purchases for consumption much earlier than usual.

For households in many drought-affected areas in the region, this is the second or third consecutive year of poor production. A regional cereal deficit of 6-8 million MT is expected in Southern Africa.

Furthermore FEWS NET indicated that imports from Zambia, Tanzania, and other international markets will only partially mitigate this shortfall.

Maize prices, which are already above last year and the five-year average, are expected to rise further and remain significantly above these levels, especially in Malawi, Mozambique, Madagascar, and Zimbabwe.

Some of the main drivers of the high food prices are low maize supplies and substantially higher demand for market purchases. Early June Climate Prediction Center (CPC) forecasts indicate that a La NiAa event is likely to develop during the start of the 2016-17 agricultural season.

In the Southern Africa region a La NiAa event tends to be associated with above-average rainfall, however initial model forecasts suggest that precipitation will be near average for October-December.

Since the start of the season is several months away and forecasts for another important factor, the status of the Subtropical Indian Ocean Dipole (SIOD), are still forthcoming, FEWS NET is assuming a normal start to the 2016-17 cropping season across the region.

A normal start to agricultural activities, including land preparation and planting, should improve labour opportunities and income levels for households, however high maize prices projected during this period will continue to impede food access.

V. Rainfall and temperature forecast

Rainfall is anticipated to be above normal along the west coast and adjacent interior but below normal elsewhere during spring.

Temperatures are anticipated to be above normal during spring, but over the western parts maximum temperatures are expected to be below normal.

There is a large amount of uncertainty towards which direction rainfall may take in the coming seasons. Farmers are encouraged to continually check updates i.e. seasonal forecasts and utilise 7 day weather forecasts for short term planning.

VII. Conclusions and recommendations

Some winter rainfall areas have received good rainfalls. Drought continues in the provinces and is being exacerbated by the normal dry winter conditions, especially in summer rainfall areas.

The seasonal forecast favours above normal rainfall towards the beginning of spring along the west coast and adjacent interior, while in other areas of the country rainfall is anticipated to be below normal.

Caution is advised due to a large amount of uncertainty in the forecast. With the seasonal forecast in mind, and the current drought, farmers are advised to continue to conserve water and other resources in accordance with the Conservation of Agricultural Resources Act 1983, (Act No. 43 of 1983).

Livestock is reportedly in reasonable to poor condition, but grazing is in poor condition in most areas.

Precautionary measures such as provision of additional feed including relevant licks, livestock reduction in accordance with available grazing, provision of enough water points in the farm as well as shelter during bad weather conditions need to remain in place.

Veld fires have been reported and the risk remains high for conditions conducive for veld fires due to the dry veld.

Farmers are encouraged to maintain firebreaks in all areas and adhere to veld fire warnings. Episodes of cold spells and localised flooding resulting from frontal systems are likely towards the end of winter and measures should be in place.

Farmers are encouraged to implement measures provided in the early warning information issued.

Challenges of communication facilities in most districts in the provinces inhibit both dissemination and access to information and thus undermining the effectiveness of an Early Warning System.

Continuous support to Early Warning Committee and National Agro-meteorological Committee members in provinces will ensure the effective dissemination of early warning information as an integral component of an effective Early Warning System in support of disaster risk reduction.

Participation in the established structures/study groups and Fire Protection Associations among farming communities will encourage knowledge sharing, good farming practices as well as effective implementation of the disaster risk reduction measures.

Reporting of disaster risk issues to the local office including diseases and pests outbreak will ensure immediate attention and controlling of incidences.

Sectoral programmes should consider the advisory information in planning their activities.

The following form part of the recommendations in the full advisory for disaster risk reduction:

” Precautionary measure for very dry conditions.

” Contingency plans for very cold conditions.

Source: Department of Trade and Industry

Israeli Forces Detain 23 Palestinians, Injure Two Others in West Bank Raids

Israeli forces Monday detained 23 Palestinians and shot and injured two others during overnight search and detention raids across the West Bank, said security sources.

Seventeen Palestinians were detained from Hebron district, three others from Bethlehem district, two others from Jenin district and another from Nablus.

In the southern West Bank district of Hebron, forces detained 15 Palestinians after storming and ransacking their houses in Dura town, south of Hebron city.

The detainees were identified as Muhammad al-Faqih, 40, Hussein al-Faqih, 34, Kayed al-Faqih, 57, together with his two sons, Feras, 19, and Muhammad, 27, as well as Bader Abu-Hlayel, and his brother, Eyad, Ahmad Amayra, Mufid Shadid, Anas Shadid, Haitham Talahma, 34, Ashraf Amr, 23, Khaled Tbeish, Shaher Barwish, and his brother, Majed.

Forces also raided Surif town, northwest of Hebron, detaining Muhammad al-Hur.

They also raided Sa’ir town, northeast of Hebron, detaining a Palestinian and ransacking two houses belonging to Azzam Shalalda and Dheyab Tarwa.

The detainee was identified as Deyaa Tarayra.

In Bethlehem district, forces handcuffed two Palestinians during a raid that sparked clashes in Duheisha refugee camp, south of Bethlehem.

Undercover Israeli forces and military vehicles stormed the camp, detaining Yazan H Hijazi, 20, and Mustafa al-Hasanat, 23.

Clashes erupted between Israeli troops and local youths who noticed the troops and attempted to block their passage.

WAFA reported a Palestinian Red Crescent source as confirming two Palestinian locals were shot and injured with live rounds in their legs. They were evacuated to a hospital, where medics described their condition as stable.

Also in Bethlehem district, troops detained Abdullah Jum’a, 18, during a raid into Tuqu’ town, east of the city.

Meanwhile, two Palestinians were handcuffed and detained during a raid into Barta’a town, southwest of the northern West Bank city of Jenin.

The detainees were identified as Kamal Kabaha, 40, and Sufian Mer’i, 30.

Also in the northern West Bank, troops raided Nablus city, detaining Mahyoob Kanaze’.

Source: WAFA

North West hosts second edition of Bokone Bophirima Maize Cup, 13 Aug

Orlando Pirates to take on Platinum Stars in 2016 Maize Cup

Top class football will be coming to South Africa’s Bokone Bophirima Province once again with the second edition of the Bokone Bophirima Maize Cup, to be played on the 13th of August, 2016.

A new format of the one day competition will see two teams facing off for the Maize Cup, as opposed to last year’s edition which had four clubs battling it out in two semi-finals and a final in one day.

This year Soweto giants Orlando Pirates FC will play against defending champions and hosts Platinum Stars FC, which promises to be a cracking encounter.

The format from the former Maize Triangle to the Maize Cup was necessitated by the fact that Mpumalanga no longer has a team in the PSL.

The North West Province is delighted to have two top teams competing in the Bokone Bophirima Maize Cup this year and looks forward to an outstanding day of entertainment for local and travelling fans.

The match will provide football-starved fans with top quality pre-season action and an opportunity to see some of the new recruits ahead of the 2016/2017 campaign. Both teams will be looking for good performances as they continue to prepare for the new season.

The province gives thanks to all their stakeholders, particularly grain producers in the Bokone Bophirima, Free State and Mpumalanga provinces, who have helped to make this tournament a reality.

“Through this Maize Cup, the Provincial Government seeks to provide an opportunity to all soccer loving citizens from the Province and beyond, to enjoy a thrilling day of entertaining soccer and that contributes to efforts to rebrand, reposition and renew the Province” says the spokesperson of the North West Provincial Government, Mr. Brian Setswambung.

Orlando Pirates will be fresh from a pre-season camp in Namibia and will possibly have new signings Riyaad Norodien, Donald Mokondelela and Bernard Morrison on show on the day.

Pirates, who lost out to Kaizer Chiefs in last week’s Carling Black Label Cup, would not want to miss out on another pre-season trophy and they could just have revenge in the back of their minds when they face Dikwena in the Maize Cup. It was Platinum Stars who beat the Buccaneers in the 2013 MTN8 final and a few months later again in the Telkom Knockout final, which is something the Pirates fans do not want to be reminded about.

Pirates also failed to beat Stars last season in the league, drawing 1-1 at Orlando Stadium and then losing 2-1 to Cavin Johnson’s men at Royal Bafokeng Stadium. So it should be an interesting battle as Pirates look to get back at Dikwena and also boost their confidence before the season starts.

Pirates have dominated this fixture since 2004, with 15 victories in 27 meetings, but Dikwena have proven to be a problem for the Buccaneers in recent years. Stars have lost just twice in their last eight meetings, so Pirates should prepare themselves for another tight battle when they lock horns in the Maize Cup.

After finishing third last season and qualifying for next year’s CAF Confederation Cup, Stars will be hoping the Maize Cup gives them good preparation ahead of what’s sure to be their biggest season in a long time. With continental football coming up, Stars will need to be well prepared and on top of their game to handle the tight schedule that lies ahead for them.

They will be relying on top players such as Vuyo Mere, Ndumiso Mabena, returning striker Henrico Botes and the experience of coach Cavin Johnson to get a positive result in the Maize Cup and then build on from that in the new campaign.

Stars will feel perfectly at home at the Moruleng Stadium for the Bokone Bophirima Maize Cup, as they use the venue as an alternative home ground to the Royal Bafokeng Sports Palace and are the current defending champions of The Maize Cup.

There’s more to look forward to. Since the Cup will take place in Womens’ month, the Province has decided to offer a special treat to the female supporters by offering them free entrance to the stadium.

Kick Off will be at 15h00.

Tickets go on sale on Wednesday the 3rd of August and will be available through Computicket at R30 for adults and R10 for children under 12 years.

Source: Department of Trade and Industry