International news round-up

THE best way to restructure the dairy industry is through the co-op model, Lakelands Dairies chief executive Ed Prendergast has said. Broadly welcoming the Strategic Development Plan for...

THE best way to restructure the dairy industry is through the co-op model, Lakelands Dairies chief executive Ed Prendergast has said.

Broadly welcoming the Strategic Development Plan for the industry, he said the co-op model retains ownership in the hands of primary producers and ensures that the benefits of rationalisation and efficiencies are passed back to those producers, maximising the economic benefits of the industry.

He said it also gives farmers ownership of the value created in the industry and retains the revenues generated within rural Ireland. The most suitable way to achieve efficiencies is through routes that are easier, simpler and more palatable to the industry than the highly-ambitious level of merger and acquisition activity that the report envisages, he said.

A balanced mix of mergers, joint ventures, partnerships and strategic alliances between the existing players could achieve the desired level of industry efficiency.

? Irish Examiner, Ireland

THE Land and Co-operative Ministry will set up a commercial hub where goods produced by co-operatives nationwide can be displayed and sold to the public.

Many co-operatives were involved in producing handicraft and food, said its parliamentary secretary Dr Robia Kosai.  "We will work together with the Culture, Arts and Tourism Ministry in getting tourists to go to the complex and buy the products," she said at the opening of a co-op seminar.

? The Star, Malaysia

LA Plata Electric Association finished 2002 in the red by $1.1 million after suffering losses of $5.6 million from subsidiary companies Western Energy Services of Durango Inc. and Fast Track Communications.

It is the third consecutive year the co-op has lost money. The losses ? announced at the recent board meeting ? stem from rising electricity prices and higher distribution and transmission costs, but also from about $17 million LPEA has spent on the subsidiary companies.

The co-op has also spent about $3 million to help build a fiber-optic line between Albuquerque and Grand Junction. Because of the subsidiaries losses and rising operational costs, the co-op has raised rates twice in two years.

LPEA Chief Executive Officer Emery Maez said the worst should be behind the co-op. Most of the loss was from one-time write-downs of assets in the subsidiary companies. "We are not going to have those kinds of write-downs in the future," Maez said. "We have taken care of all the non-performing assets."

-Durango Herald, Colorado, USA

THE war in Iraq has spelt trouble for more than just the denizens in the Gulf countries. In India, it has created a near panic situation amongst mango producers and exporters who are suddenly faced with significant drop in revenues even as flights into the Gulf countries are being curtailed due to the conflict, making it impossible to access the lucrative market for the fruit.

Officials of the Agricultural Produce Market Committee and Mahamango, a famer&#039s co-operative which grows and exports the fruit said that they had not been able to export a single consignment so far due to outbreak of war in Iraq.

A combination of refusal by shipping companies to venture into the Gulf region, curtailment of flights into the region, which is one of the largest market for mangoes and difficulty in insuring this highly perishable fruit has meant that exports into this region has practically stopped due to the war.

"We have had a bumper crop this year and were expecting to export 200 tonnes of the fruit as against last year&#039s 44 tonnes but so far we have not been able to export anything," Mr Babab Pawar, export officer with APMC said.

? Business Line, India

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