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World food prices jump in November – Report

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World food prices rose significantly in November, reaching their highest point in more than two years, driven by jumps in the international prices of meat products and vegetable oils.

The FAO Food Price Index, which tracks monthly changes in the international prices of commonly-traded food commodities, averaged 177.2 points over the month, up 2.7 percent from October and 9.5 percent from the same period a year earlier.

The FAO Vegetable Oil Price Index rose by 10.4 percent in November, as palm oil price quotations rose amid robust global import demand, increased use for the production of biodiesels and expectations of possible supply shortages next year. Rapeseed and soy oil values also rose.

The FAO Meat Price Index increased by 4.6 percent, its largest month-on-month increase in more than a decade. Price quotations for bovine and ovine meats rose the most, buoyed by strong import demand, especially from China ahead of year-end festivities. Pig and poultry meat prices also rose.

The FAO Sugar Price Index rose by 1.8 percent from October, buoyed by mounting indications that world sugar consumption in the coming year will surpass production – which is being hampered by less-than-ideal growing conditions in Thailand, India, France and the United States of America.

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The FAO Cereal Price Index, by contrast, declined by 1.2 percent amid stiff competition among the world’s leading wheat exporters. Rice values also fell while U.S. maize export prices remained under downward pressure even as those for Argentina and Brazil were generally firmer.

The FAO Dairy Price Index rose marginally from October, nudged up as milk production in Europe entered its seasonal low and global demand remained strong.

Record cereal production expected for 2019

FAO also released a new worldwide cereal production forecast for 2019, anticipating an all-time high harvest of 2 714 million tonnes, which would be 2.1 percent higher than in 2018.

The latest upward revision, contained in the new Cereal Supply and Demand Brief also released today, reflects higher-than-previously predicted coarse grain yields in China, the Russian Federation and Ukraine.

World output of coarse grains including maize is now forecast at 1 433 million tonnes, marginally short of the record level registered in 2017. After an upward revision for the European Union, global wheat production in 2019 is now forecast to rise by 4.8 percent from 2018 to reach 766.4 million tonnes. World rice production is likely to reach 515 million tonnes, a mere 0.5 percent drop from the record set in 2018, with Egypt, Madagascar and Nigeria all poised to spearhead a rebound for African rice production this season.

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FAO’s world cereal utilization forecast for 2019/20 stands at 2 709 million tonnes, up around 21 million tonnes from the previous season. World cereal stocks at the close of seasons in 2020 are now expected to reach 863 million tonnes. At this level, the global cereal stock-to-use ratio would approach a relatively high level of 31 percent, underscoring a comfortable global supply situation.

World trade in cereals in 2019/20 is forecast at 416 million tonnes, some 1.1 percent higher than in 2018/19.

Weather hits cereal harvests in East and Southern Africa

There are 42 countries today in need of external assistance for food, according to FAO’s quarterly Crop Prospects and Food Situation report, also released today.

Compared to the September issue of the same report, Zambia, affected by drought conditions and record-high staple food prices, has been added to the list, which includes Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cabo Verde, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Congo, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Democratic Republic of Congo, Djibouti, Eritrea, Eswatini, Ethiopia, Guinea, Haiti, Iraq, Kenya, Lesotho, Liberia, Libya, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Mozambique, Myanmar, Niger, Nigeria, Pakistan, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Syrian Arab Republic, Uganda, Venezuela, Yemen, Zimbabwe.

The report also provides details on floods that followed earlier severe dryness, cutting harvest expectations in East Africa, and adverse weather conditions that caused a steep production decline in Southern Africa. Unfavorable harvests and significantly high staple food prices in Zimbabwe, set against an economy that has sharply deteriorated, will likely almost double the number of food-insecure people in the country during the first three months of 2020.

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While the cereal output of Low-Income Food-Deficit Countries (LIFDCs) in Africa is expected to decline due to adverse weather that of LIFDCs in Asia is projected to increase, notably in Afghanistan and Syria.

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Makinde vows to retrieve billions of Oyo’s resources ‘stolen’ in 96 months before his tenure

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Oyo state governor, Engineer Seyi Makinde on Wednesday vowed that his administration was ready to retreive the billions of the state’s funds allegedly looted by officials of the previous administration.

Governor Makinde, who made the vow while kickstarting the construction of the 21km Ajia-Airport-New Ife Expressway road, in Ajia town, maintained that his administration was ready to put measures in place to retrieve all looted funds to develop the state’s infrastructure.

The 21-kilometre Airport-Ajia-New Ife Express Road, with spur to Amuloko, was awarded to Messrs Peculiar Ultimate Concerns Ltd, at a total cost of Eight Billion, Five Hundred and Twenty Million, Nine Hundred and Nineteen Thousand, Seven Hundred and Seventy-Six Naira, Forty-One Kobo (N8,520,919,776.41).

According to the governor, unlike the previous government, which, he said, preoccupied itself with how to corner state’s funds on a daily basis, his administration would drastically reduce the infrastructure deficit in the state within the shortest possible time.

He added that it’s only in doing so that the state can be positioned on the path of economic growth.

A statement by the Chief Press Secretary to Governor Makinde, Mr. Taiwo Adisa, quoted the governor as saying that the 21-kilometre road construction being launched was a product of the administration’s strategic way of reducing the state’s infrastructure deficit, which is known as the Alternative Project Funding Approach (APFA).

He said: “Our administration means business. We will drastically reduce the infrastructure deficit in Oyo State in the shortest possible time. And this is how economies work: investors will only go where they can be assured of profits. If we do not develop basic infrastructure like roads, it will affect the cost of production which, in turn, means less profit for investors. So, we cannot be seriously discussing attracting investments into Oyo State when a majority of roads and other infrastructure are in a state of disrepair.

“In order to achieve this, we must strategize on how to increase our spending on infrastructure, because what we collect from Abuja every month from federal allocation is not even enough to pay the salaries. So, the new strategies on how to increase our spending on infrastructure is what we are doing here in Oyo State.”

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While explaining the reason the Airport-Ajia road costs more per kilometre than the 65 kilometre Moniya-Iseyin road, the governor said there are more hydraulic structures on the Airport-Ajia road than the Moniya-Iseyin road, and that a lot of expansion and rehabilitation will be done on those bridges.

The governor also used the opportunity to explain the APFA approach through which he said many projects will be executed in the state, stating that it is the administration’s way of funding some infrastructural projects in the state, by having the contractors fund the projects with their own money while the state repays them over a period of time.

“What this entails is that the contractor carries the projects’ risk. At the same time, we get quality delivery and quick completion of projects. They will be bearing the risk of getting this project done in a timely manner, while we pay them over the next twenty-nine months. That comes down to roughly N300 million a month. So, while they will complete the project in one year, we have the option to repay in over twice the time.

“We will continue to actualise capital projects through budgetary allocations and have the additional option of carrying out other infrastructural projects outside of the budget, using the Alternative Project Funding Approach. So, you can look forward to other projects under this approach.

“Let me state that even when we are forced to look outside Oyo State for persons to execute the projects under APFA, we still put the interests of our people first. For example, Peculiar Ultimate Concerns Ltd has agreed that the construction labour will come from Oyo State, and we are holding them to that agreement.”

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He added: “So, for projects under the APFA, because of the nature of spending on the projects, we decided that it would be best to open up the bidding process a little more so that contractors outside of Oyo State can bid as well.

“We reached this decision because we are looking for private entities who have the wherewithal to complete the projects on schedule, while at the same time, passing the tests of quality assurance.

“When we approved this project at EXCO, social media became agog with all sorts of insinuations. Those ones that you rejected during the last general elections were saying Seyi Makinde promised that he would give contracts to those within Oyo state. Indeed, I made that promise that Oyo state money must remain in Oyo state.

“Some have said the company we awarded the contract to is from Asaba in Niger Delta and that we want to take Oyo State’s money to my wife’s state. First, let me put it on record that my wife is not from Delta but from Rivers State. “Second, the representative of the company we awarded the project to, Engr Abel Adeleke, has spoken here today. He is from Osun State and they are using their money to start this project.

“We also opened the opportunity for all. Even if they had approached us and brought the money they stole while in government to fund this project, we will allow them. We all know there are certain construction works that their expertise may not be with a local contractor. If we want to construct a bridge and it is awarded to Julius Berger, they will also say Julius Berger is not from Oyo State. So, that is to tell you they have nothing to do. One thing I know is, if we build this road the way we are supposed to, on time and on budget, what concerns the people going to the airport, whether Julius Berger constructed the road or whether the contractor is from Osun or Oyo? Our major concern is that the road is constructed.”

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Addressing the criticisms trailing the announcement of N100 billion bond issuance by the state, the governor stated: “I heard somebody criticizing us on radio concerning the N100 billion bond and was of the opinion that this administration wants to put the state in debt. I think our people need to start telling them that Governor Makinde is not like that. For the period of eight years they spent in office, they were only preoccupied with how to corner N1 Billion monthly into their private pockets everyday they went to the office.

“They spent 96 months in office, that means they have Oyo States N96 billion with them. We will retrieve every fund that belongs to Oyo people for the purpose of infrastructure development.

“So, tell them that the EFCC of Oyo State is coming for them. I want to assure you that we will retrieve the stolen money of the state from them and use the funds to build infrastructure like this.”

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Ajimobi’s 40-day Fidau prayer holds tomorrow

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The 40-day fidau prayer  of late former governor of Oyo state, Sen. Abiola Ajimobi has been billed for tomorrow, August 6, 2020 in Ibadan, the Oyo state capital 
Late Governor Ajimobi’s media aide, Bolaji Tunji disclosed in a statement on Wednesday.
 

Ajimobi, 71, died on June 25, 2020 , at First Cardiologist Consultant; a private COVID19 approved care facility in Lagos State.

According to him,  the fidau prayer will hold at the late governor’s  Oluyole residence, Ibadan In line with Covid-19 protocols as laid down by NCDC, adding that the event will strictly be a family affair.

He also informed that there will be a live coverage of the event on NTA from 11am onwards and the event will also be streamed on the link below:https://linktr.ee/ajimobiliveson

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Beirut blast killed more than 100 – Red Cross

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A huge blast at Beirut port that devastated entire neighbourhoods of the city has killed more than 100 people and injured over 4,000, the Lebanese Red Cross said Wednesday.

“Until now over 4,000 people have been injured and over 100 have lost their lives. Our teams are still conducting search and rescue operations in the surrounding areas,” a statement said.

Details later…

AFP

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