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A template for futrue farming

Summary

With the launch of its new book, Agriculture, Fertilizers and the Environment, Norsk Hydro hopes to provide a template for future generations of farmers throughout the world. The book presents the environmental and sustainability issues arising from the widespread use of fertilizers and fertilizers' role in ensuring adequate food supplies for future generations. The book seeks a wide audience and is intended for anyone with an interest in agriculture and the environment. Its promoters hope that it will contribute to an improved understanding of the issues related to fertilizer use in agriculture.

Abstract

Norsk Hydro was an earlyadvocate of the fertilizer industry's wider responsibilities towards the careful stewardship of the environment. The company was quick to undertake in-house environmental audits of its production operations, in conjunction with other interested parties. Another aspect of Hydro's environmental agenda has been to redress unfavourable media reporting on modern agricultural practices. Hydro's stance in this respect has not been adversarial or defensive: the company has acknowledged the potential threats to nature, to the environment and

T en years ago, Norsk Hydro published a survey of environmental issues relating to agriculture and fertilizer use, setting these in the wider context of providing food security to a growing population. Entitled Agriculture and Fertilizers, this book was published in-house, and enjoyed a wide distribution, ultimately being translated into six languages. Since the original title was published, several gaps in the overall level ofknowledge and understanding were identified - for example, in the environmental impact ofnitrogen fertilizers. Hydro has been keen to publicise the results of the research that has been undertaken to close these gaps, and to emphasise the organisation's longterm commitment to sustainable agriculture. The new title - Agriculture, Fertilizers and the Environment - was launched on 27 April, and is intended to provide a balanced scientific review of the environmental and sustainability issues relating to fertilizer usage.

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A new world for farming

Summary

First off the mark to host a world exhibition in the new millennium is the German city of Hanover, and EXPO 2000 opened its doors at the end of May. The event has taken as its theme a celebration of Mankind, Nature and Technology. This theme is echoed in the satellite exhibition, AGRI 2 I. Kemira Agro is one of several companies which have sponsored this showcase opportunity to demonstrate the vital role agriculture plays in ensuring that the world will continue to be fed through the development· of sustainable farming practices.

Abstract

The German city of Hanover has opened its doors to the world by hosting EXPO 2000 - the first world exhibition to be held in the new millennium. Some 200 countries are represented at the exhibition, which covers an area of more than 170 ha, and EXPO 200(/s organisers are ready to welcome as many as 100,000 visitors per day. EXPO 2000 has set as its theme the celebration of Mankind, Nature and Technology. It is more than a theme park, and offers visitors a vision of how everyday life could advance in the new century. The emphasis, though, is on entertainment and challenge, rather than preaching.

Eleven themes are presented, several ofwhich are ofparticular relevance to the agricultural world. Environment, Landscapes and Climate shows the different rhythms ofnature and the changes in the counttyside according to the passage of the seasons and the changes influencing life in the towns. Basic Needs shows images of the world as a global village where everyone shares the same air, food and water. Another theme, Nutrition, presents gourmet specialities from around the world and shows how agriculture contributes to their production.

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A buzz in the Baltic

Summary

Recent rivalry between Russian ports and those in the independent Baltic states remains intense, and at stake are the volumes of transit traffic originating in the Russia and its CIS neighbours. Potash and other fertilizers make up a considerable proportion of this traffic, and all interested parties are banking on continuing growth. However, the Baltic ports are now looking more closely at developing business with the west, especially as the region is now enjoying an unprecedented economic boom.

Abstract

T he decade that was marked by the end of the Cold War and the break-up ofthe Soviet Union has been followed in the Baltic region by an economic renaissance, as new trading links are forged. These developments have been described as "the biggest and most promising piece ofthe New Europe". The regional hinterland can draw on a population of 80 million, and the established Nordic nations and Germany have been major investors in the Baltic republics, which formerly formed part of the Soviet Union.

The Baltic region is becoming a major force within world markets, and is now responsible for 15% ofworld trade. This is reflected in the fertilizer sector, where some 5 million tfaofFSU potash are being shipped via the Latvian port ofVentspils to destinations throughout the world. The Baltic region is also becoming increasingly bound into the European Union. Sweden and Finland joined the organisation only in 1994, but moves are under way to incorporate Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland in an enlarged EU by 2004.

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Overtaking the competitors

Summary

Setting a fast pace in the fast growth of maritime traffic via the Baltic states is the Latvian port of Ventspils. The jewel in the port's crown is the dedicated fertilizer terminal of ]SC Kalija Parks. The recent completion of the second phase of the company's major investment programme is expected to keep Ventspils in the forefront of further growth in trade from the east to the west.

Abstract

JSC Kalija Parks has consolidated the Latvian port ofVentspils' status as the Baltic's premier potash handling port, having inaugurated on 16 March its second berth (Number 4a) at the potash terminal in Ventspils Free Port. The first vessel to use the new berth was a Panamax destined for China, and other Panamaxes were due to follow. Several Handymaxes have also featured in the line-up at Berth 4a. Offering a depth of 15.5 m and a lengthof280 m, Berth4aiswell equipped to accept the largest dry bulk vessels, of up to 14.1 m draft.

The new berth was designed specifically to allow the simultaneous loading of two Panamax vessels at a combined loading rate of 20,000 tonnes per 24-hour day. The project included the provision of covered storage for up to 115,000 tonnes of potash, as well other fertilizers - including NPKs, DAP, MAP, urea and ammonium nitrate. A rail receiving facility in the terminal allows 250 railcars to be discharged in any 24-hour period. The improvements will together raise Kalija Parks' throughput capacity to 6.5 million t/a. The company predicts potash shipments of over 5 million tonnes this year.

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A bigger stage beckons

Summary

Reflecting the upheaval in Czech agriculture arising from the transition from a centrally-planned economy to a market-oriented one, the past decade has been one of mixed fortunes for the country's leading fertilizer producer, Lovochemie. However, the Czech Republic's anticipated accession to the European Union in 2003 is expected to provide a major boost to the national economy, and Lovochemie is taking measures to capitalise on the improved market conditions, as described here.

Abstract

T he Czech Republic has set 1 January 2003 as the target date for entry into the European Union (EU). This indeed has been the country's official goal, even before the "Velvet Divorce" of 1993, when the Slovak Republic seceded. When the Eastern European communist regimes fell in late 1999, the former Czechoslovakia appeared to be one of the best-placed of the Central and Eastern European countries (CEECs) to make the inevitably difficult transition from a centrally-planned to a market-oriented economy. The new government's determination to integrate with the European Community gave a specific focus towards economic policy. Agriculture was set to play an important role, as a potential breadbasket for the whole ofEurope. The sector accounts for about 3% of the Czech GDP and for 4% of employment. Until 1991, large state or co-operative farms predominated, but while land reform measures led to the return of most holdings to private ownership, fairly large-scale agriculture continues. Many ofthe new landowners lease their land

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Getting farmers to invest in their soil

Summary

The role of water, soil nutrients and input management in sustainable world food production and food security was at the top of the agenda in the World Water Forum held in Den Haag, Netherlands between 16-22 March. VKP - the Dutch fertilizer producers association - marked the occasion by preparing a position paper that deals with the above-mentioned issues, as summarised below.

Abstract

W ater, together with seeds and fertilizers, is one of the major inputs for agriculture, and agricultute accounts for 80% of the water consumed today. Some 30 countries currently experience chronic water shortages or droughts - and the situation is often exacerbated by inefficient or wasteful practices. In Sub-Saharan Africa, only 10-15% ofthe available rainwater is taken up by plants. The pressure on scarce water resources will inevitably increase, and by 2020, global demand for cereals is projected to be 40% higher than the 1993 level of some 2 billion tonnes. Demand for meat is expected to increase by 60% in the same period.

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