• World food crisis

    When the order came down from the top brass of Bangladesh's armed forces it sounded like a joke. Some of the soldiers and sailors who were told that from now on their daily rations would include increased servings of potatoes almost certainly did not take it seriously either.

  • Farmers doomed to pay price for export restrictions

    Surging prices for agricultural commodities - and the fear of shortages at home - have prompted some countries to impose restrictions on exports. But their moves threaten to prolong the current global food crisis - and even exacerbate it. Countries such as Argentina, Kazakhstan, India and Vietnam have stopped their farmers selling crops abroad or taxed exports heavily in an effort to keep local markets well-supplied and local prices for those crops low.

  • Russia gambles on gas prices

    A landmark deal reached between Russia's state-controlled gas monopoly Gazprom and three energy-rich Central Asian nations is likely to affect European consumers. On March 11, Gazprom agreed

  • Tata, MMTC to float JV for mine hunt

    New Delhi, Apr 9 In yet another major public-private partnership, Tata Steel will float a joint venture company with state-owned MMTC Ltd for acquiring mining projects in India and abroad. The JV will focus on African countries like Angola and Namibia and central Asian countries like Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan to bid for gold and diamond mines, besides acquiring coal and iron ore mines.

  • News Snippets

    >> Law and Justice, one of Kazakhstan's few independent newspapers, is to be closed by order of the Astana region court. The newspaper is charged with improper registration. The newspaper, however,

  • Flood In Kazakhstan Leaves Thousands Without Water

    Thousands of people were left without fresh water in Kazakhstan on Monday after a major flood disrupted water supplies in the southwest of the Central Asian state, the Emergencies Ministry said.

  • Kazakhstan court ruling fuels gas row

    An environmental dispute brewing between Kazakhstan and a foreign oil consortium tapping the Karachaganak field might herald further moves by the central Asian country to gain influence over the crown

  • ENRC rides commodity surge to FTSE 100 gates

    Eurasian Natural Resources Corp, the Kazakh mining group, is set to make a dramatic entry into the top third of the FTSE 100 this week, just three months after it listed in London, in spite of having

  • New wheat fungus threatens crop

    A deadly new and virulent fungus capable of affecting wheat crop has been detected in Iran, a major cereal growing area in West Asia. The fungus was previously found in East Africa and Yemen and has now moved to Iran, according to Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO). The fungus is capable of destroying entire fields of wheat crop. The report could further push up global wheat prices by at least 10-15 per cent. In the spot retail market, wheat prices have surged by 40 per cent in last one year on global shortage. Countries such as Afghanistan, India, Pakistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan, all major wheat producers, are most threatened by the fungus and should be on high alert as the fungus can travel to these areas thus affecting the entire output, FAO said. It is estimated that as much as 80 per cent of all wheat varieties planted in Asia and Africa are susceptible to the wheat stem rust (Puccinia graminis). The spores of wheat rust are mostly carried by wind over long distances and across continents. "The detection of the fungus in Iran is very worrisome,' said Shivaji Pandey, director of FAO's plant production and protection division. According to the Iran government, the fungus has been detected in some localities in Broujerd and Hamedan in western Iran. Laboratory tests have confirmed the presence of the fungus. The fungus first emerged in Uganda in 1999 and is therefore called Ug99. The wind-borne transboundary pest subsequently spread to Kenya and Ethiopia. In 2007, an FAO mission confirmed for the first time that Ug99 has affected wheat fields in Yemen. The Ug99 strain found in Yemen was more virulent than the one found in East Africa. Ethiopia and Kenya had serious wheat rust epidemics in 2007 with considerable yield losses. Global wheat production is estimated at 603 million tonnes in 2007, up 1.2 per cent from 2006. In Asia, the output is estimated to rise by 1.7 per cent to 928 million tonnes in 2007 compared with 912.6 million tonnes last year. Global wheat prices have strengthened since December. Tight export supplies amid strong demand continued to provide support to cereal markets. International grain prices benefited from the weak US dollar, which increases the demand for the US wheat, and a sharp decline in freight rates, which helped accelerating purchasing activities by several countries in recent weeks. Export restrictions by China and the Russian Federation coupled with the closure of the export registry in Argentina also provided support.

  • Thousands Homeless As Severe Flood Hits Kazakhstan

    More than 12,000 people have fled their homes in Kazakhstan after rain-swollen rivers swept away houses and bridges, the emergencies ministry said on Tuesday. Spring flooding is a recurring problem across Central Asia but a sudden rise in temperatures on Feb. 20 following weeks of severe cold has exacerbated the problem this year. One person was killed in the floods and 12,700 others had to be evacuated from Kazakhstan's most populous region bordering Uzbekistan, the ministry said. Melt water destroyed roads and schools and killed hundreds of cattle as rivers burst their banks. The emergencies ministry said its rescue teams, equipped with boats and diving gear, were working to contain floods and assess the situation. People were being evacuated to safe areas but it was unclear when they would be able to return home. A total of 2,000 houses have been destroyed. (Writing by Maria Golovnina; Editing by Elizabeth Piper) REUTERS NEWS SERVICE

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