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More People are Now Relying on Eating Dried Figs for Skin Health


A global survey has highlighted that a lot of people have been eating dried figs in order to maintain the excellent health of their skin and hair. People are eating dried figs in order to deal with a variety of skin issues such as eczema, vitiligo, and psoriasis. In addition to this, figs are being used in treating many hair issues and to keep the scalp healthy.

Many studies have endorsed that figs contain plenty of essential vitamins, antioxidants, and minerals that simply help to improve the skin and hair health. It helps to create the right balance and also maintains the blood circulation to a great extent. Even figs are being used in many shampoos, conditioners, and hair masques to provide the right nourishment to every person.

Figs help to provide the right strength and moisturizer to hair which eventually helps to promote hair growth. It supplies the right amount of vitamins and minerals to every person to keep the hair healthy. Due to the high number of benefits offered by dried figs, its online sale has been rising exponentially across the world. Health experts across the world have been recommending eating dried figs to have excellent skin and hair health.

A lot of youngsters have been facing skin and hair problems in their daily lives. Hence, they have been eating dried figs in order to supply the right nutrition to their bodies on a daily basis. In addition to this, the rising awareness about the many health benefits of eating dried figs has been contributing to an increase in their demands.

Sharad is one among the oldest contributors of BO Herald with a particularly unique perspective with regards to Politics events. He aims to empower the readers with delivery of apt factual analysis of Politics news pieces from India.

Disaster aid available for hazelnut, winegrape growers


Millions of dollars of disaster aid is now available to Oregon hazelnut growers who suffered crop losses in February 2019 as a result of severe snowstorms that damaged up to 12% of mature orchards in the southern Willamette Valley.

Congress approved a $19.1 billion relief package in the wake of multiple natural disasters across the country, including hurricanes Michael, Florence and Dorian, as well as major floods, tornadoes, heavy snow and wildfires.

Part of the spending bill set aside $4.5 billion for agriculture, timber and watershed recovery to assist farmers and ranchers. The emergency fund — named the Wildfire and Hurricane Indemnity Program-Plus, abbreviated as WHIP+ — contains $11 million for Oregon hazelnuts.

The USDA Farm Service Agency announced March 16 it has established payment rates for hazelnuts through the program, and is accepting applications from eligible producers.

Kent Willett, farm program specialist for the FSA in Portland, said the program is unique in that it provides some compensation for damaged trees in addition to a percentage of the crop value. Payments are limited to $125,000 per farm.

“We’re just now trying to get that out to the public,” Willett said.

Nearly all U.S. commercial hazelnuts are grown in Oregon. A report by Pacific Agricultural Survey estimated 3,332 acres of mature hazelnut trees in Lane and Douglas counties were at risk of winter storm damage in 2019, out of 27,603 total mature acres.

Areas around Eugene, Ore., experienced 20-plus inches of snow over three days, causing limbs and branches to snap and, in some cases, entire trees to fall. According to the report, older orchards experienced a much higher level of damage from snow and ice due to their limb shape and structure.

Garry Rodakowski, chairman of the Oregon Hazelnut Commission, was one farmer who saw significant damage at his orchard west of Eugene along the McKenzie River. He said snow blanketed about 60 acres of trees, cutting his production by about 55%.

At an average of 1,500 pounds per acre and prices fetching 83 cents per pound, that adds up to about $41,085 in lost revenue.

“Plus, all the expenses on top to clean up and everything that went along with that,” Rodakowski said. “I still have broken limbs that I can’t reach from the ground, or with a pole saw that I would have to (reach) in a pruning tower.”

Though he is not certain how much money he will receive, Rodakowski said the financial relief is a huge deal to growers.

“I’ve been in the industry for 50 years. This is the first time I’ve gotten any government funding for disaster relief,” Rodakowski said. “I still don’t know what I’m going to get, but you’re at a point where anything will help.”

Juli Jones, grower relations director for the Oregon Hazelnut Industry, said she is notifying growers about the program.

While there is no deadline yet for applications, Jones said growers must schedule an in-person appointment at their county FSA office.

“The applications are being processed as quickly as they can,” Jones said. “The sooner, the better on this.”

The new program is different from other aid programs such as the Tree Assistance Program or Emergency Conservation Program. Producers who may have applied earlier through TAP or ECP must apply again specifically through WHIP+ to receive payments, Jones said.

“We stress to them that if you think you’ve applied for it, you haven’t,” she said.

In addition to hazelnuts, WHIP+ includes $3 million for Southern Oregon winegrape growers unable to sell their 2018 crop over concerns of smoke taint from the region’s wildfires.

A California winery rejected 2,000 tons of winegrapes from Rogue Valley growers just before harvest, worth an estimated $4 million. Due to the timing, most fruit was left to rot on the vine.

Wildfire smoke can have a negative impact on vineyards, with grapes absorbing volatile guaiacol and methylguaiacol compounds that can lead to smoky, burnt or ashy flavor in wines.

Sen. Jeff Merkley, D-Ore., the ranking Democrat on the Senate Appropriations Committee, was instrumental in getting hazelnut and winegrapes included in the relief package.

Pecan trees are ‘waking up’ to a very different year


The American pecan industry is now entering the start of the growing season with pecan trees across the southern US beginning to wake up from winter dormancy. 

A little earlier this year, most pecan tree varieties have begun to swell and start to leaf out, meaning that it’s time for pecan farmers across the country to start watering, feeding, and intensive monitoring their trees for insect activity, as well as overall tree and leaf health. 

This time of year is always one of my favorite, as growers finish up planting new trees in the orchards, finish up any last minute irrigation repairs and new installs, have just made some of our first applications of fertilizer and micronutrients, and get ready to start scouting our trees on a regular basis, and applying nutrients based on soil sample reports, there is quite a lot going on in the orchards this time of year. 

Dr. Wells has been active in the orchards and on his website updating Eastern growers on happenings around Georgia pecan orchards, and of course posting some valuable information on his UGA pecan extension blog, already covering topics like ambrosia beetle activity, and setting up for a quality scab treatment program. 

While the US deals with the coronavirus initiating massive shutdowns across the US, the American pecan industry is business as usual for the most part. While shutting down shelling facilities is a concern, most suppliers have enough product in cold storage to weather any short term shut downs that may be required. On the farm, social distancing is a way of life, so not much change there. Growers have seen several meetings canceled, but most if not all are being rescheduled to a later date. Read the full report here.

Ghana: 2020 cashew earnings likely to fall


The value of Ghana’s Non Traditional Export (NTEs) is likely to reduce significantly this year in part due to continuous delays in Vietnam in selling off its existing cashew nuts stock to China due to the impact of the novel corona virus infections.

China imports around 10 percent of global cashew nut production for consumption which is mostly supplied by Vietnam – which imports most of its cashew nuts from Ghana, Ivory Coast and some other countries.

Ghana’s 2018 NTEs statistics which saw a significant growth performance of 10 percent over 2017 was largely due to a 43.84 percent increase in exports of cashew nuts – mainly exported to Vietnam – from US$262.95 million in 2017 to US$378.21 million in 2018. The increase in value of cashew exports alone to Vietnam amounted to US$115.26 million.

With the effect of the corona virus that has impacted heavily on all business activities, this implies that Vietnam still has some existing stocks in hand for disposal before importing new cashew nuts from Ghana.

Over the last few weeks, the price of cashew has decreased on the world market as producers and traders move to sell existing stocks. This has resulted in the slowdown of cashew trade as Vietnam begins looking for alternative markets aside China, since this year’s crop was ready for bulk shipments in February from both Ghana and the Ivory Coast.

In effect, trade experts have insisted that if Vietnam expects a slow market in China, the country will also be slow to buy raw cashew from Ghana. Vietnam has recorded more than 35 cases of the coronavirus after new infections from Europe.

Since Ghana’s NTEs sector recorded a blip in 2016, recording earnings of US$2.46 billion as compared to 2015 figure of US$2.52 billion, earnings in every year since then have seen a marginal increase over the previous year. For instance, the sector recorded US$2.56 billion, US$2.813 billion in 2017 and 2018 respectively.

With the impact of the coronavirus disease that has impacted heavily on international trade forcing many countries to issue business and trade restrictions, it is anticipated that the entire earnings in the NTEs sector will seriously be affected, most especially goods meant for export outside the continent.

Speaking with the Goldstreet Business, Director of Projects at Ghana Export Promotion Authority (GEPA), Mr. Alexandar Dadzawa noted that since Vietnam processes cashew to the tertiary level, some impact will be felt in the sector. However, measures are being looked at in order to curtail any possible major impact.

“It wouldn’t be immediate, but it also depends on the intensity in the respective countries”, he added.

Producers of cashew nut in West Africa are poised to become a dominant force in the global cashew value chain. In recent years, there have been a significant increase in the number of domestic processors investing in mechanized processing to improve quality, reduce costs of production and reduce the export of raw cashew, which currently stands at 90 percent of total export.

The Clipper Podcast: Solar powers farmers pockets


Agriculture goes home office! In the next days we will ask our partners and friends around the world how that actually works. Remember: In times where trade shows are cancelled magazines like ours are your trade show. Here you can talk about your business, get in touch with buyers and partners. We will help you present your products to an audience on seven continents. Contact us on Linkedin to find out more – my profile name is agropress. So let’s talk about running a global business from home. I asked Karel Strubbe-Sales Director EMEA at TOMRA Sorting Food how it works for a global food sorting machinery business.

This year will be different – travel, trade, business and of course industry events. We can expect some of the major trade shows and conferences to be canceled or to have a lot less visitors. But even if travel and promoting your products will be harder on trade shows this year – there is still the Clipper Magazine and the podcast, where you can get information without travelling. 

Still we traveled – to Biofach this february and we were surprised to find an american prune producer who is proud to offer an organic range – Wilbur Packing, a company with more than 150 years of history in the Sacramento Valley. 

At the Almond Conference last December we talked to Chad Cummings at JKB Energy. Solar Power has become an important additional income for growers and processors in California in a short period. We wanted to know what triggered this development.  According to a new report by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), unsubsidized renewable energy is now most frequently the cheapest source of energy generation – We wanted to know if there are any tax incentives in California to boost solar power. 

In our next episode we will have the first voices from 4 continents giving us an assessment of the impact of the Coronavirus for the nuts and dried fruit and the snack industry. Stay tuned. We wish you that you stay well. 

Let’s start with understanding the impact of the current events for our nuts and dried fruit. The Almond Conference which took place last December of last year, this time in a different location in Sacramento at sometimes freezing temperatures and torrential rains which can be heard as a background noise in our interviews. Solar Energy has become an important source of income for growers in California. We talked to at JKB Energy, who explains how one by one growers and processors come on board. 

In our next episode we will have several interviews with people in the nuts and dried fruit trade all over the planet about the impact for production, trade and consumption. We are currently recording the interviews with the relevant people and we will update you as soon as possible. 

Listen to the Podcast here:

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The Clipper Podcast: Running a global nuts&dried fruit business from home


Agriculture goes home office! In the next days we will ask our partners and friends around the world how that actually works. Remember: In times where trade shows are cancelled magazines like ours are your trade show. Here you can talk about your business, get in touch with buyers and partners. We will help you present your products to an audience on seven continents. Contact us on Linkedin to find out more – my profile name is agropress. So let’s talk about running a global business from home. I asked Karel Strubbe-Sales Director EMEA at TOMRA Sorting Food how it works for a global food sorting machinery business.

We wish everybody at TOMRA all the best! From Belgium to Australia: Australians are pioneers of home office work – understandably – with a country nearly as big as the US and only 25 m inhabitants. Michiel tells us about how in Australia distance education worked without the internet.

I wanted to know how the COVID -19 crisis is being dealt with in Australia.

I also asked Michiel how the agriculture sector in Australia is recovering from the bushfires and what the next steps are.  

We wish that everybody stays well. We are working from home and we are curious about how you deal with the situation, please let us know. In our next episode we will talk about the bizarre shortage and price explosion for peanuts, more stories from the US and Italy and how nuts, dried fruit and snacks are doing on the retail level right now. 

There are no trade shows at the moment, but you can still promote your brand and your business on our podcast. We want to invite you to sponsor the podcast and get your name and brand out to the listeners in 89 countries. You can simply contact us over Linkedin or my email. Talk soon! 

Listen to the Podcast here:

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Coronavirus not the only concern for farmers in California


West Side agriculture, in all its many forms, is heading into another year with both the optimism typical of farmers and the challenges that agriculture faces all too many times. Mother Nature blessed California almond growers with near-perfect weather during the crucial bloom and pollination period a few weeks ago, potentially setting the stage for another bumper crop when late summer rolls around.

But growers in federal water districts such as the Del Puerto Water District which runs along the I-5 corridor from Vernalis to Santa Nella, again face sharply curtailed water supplies. Increasing production costs are a concern for producers of many commodities.

And the impact of the COVID-19 virus, which has upended virtually every aspect of everyday life across California and the nation, remains to be fully seen in the ag community. The almond pollination period has been a highlight of recent weeks, but that element of the ag industry has also been tempered by a decline in market prices. Jim Jasper, president of Stewart & Jasper, said the recent bloom and pollination period was ideal. But, he noted, almond growers have seen a decline in prices in recent weeks. Grower returns may be down from last year, Jasper said, but “that will be okay if they get a bigger crop.” Almonds, a leading California commodity, could be heavily impacted by the COVID-19 virus, he added. “This hit China first and foremost, and they have been taking a lot of almonds,” Jasper said of the pandemic. “As of this moment they are pretty much not taking anything.” He anticipates that sales to other countries hard-hit by the virus could also curtail imports, and that other commodities may be impacted by the crisis.

“There are so many uncertainties. We don’t know if this will last a month or four months,” Jasper commented. “It is a time that we have never encountered before, so we don’t know what to expect.” The pandemic has prompted Stewart & Jasper to implement a number of policies at its operation, including social distancing practices which provide separation between employees. The company has also implemented strict protocols aimed at keeping its employees healthy. “The food is fine,” Jasper emphasized. “We’re concerned about our workforce and keeping a good environment.” Rural Gustine farmer Tim Gomes said he is hopeful that any impacts of the virus will prove to be short-lived rather than lasting. Gomes, who grows a mixture of row crops and almonds, said the ag outlook appears to be mixed.

“The almonds are still looking like they are going to be profitable. The almond board is very confident that they will be able to market this year’s crop at a profitable price,” he said. “The row crops don’t look real promising right now, but that can change.” He and fellow row crop grower Patrick Cerutti, president of Cerutti Brothers, cited rising production costs as a concern facing farmers. “What we are selling (crops) for has not moved as rapidly as the cost of production,” Gomes commented. “Labor is a big one. We are competing with construction and other industries for labor.” “Every year it seems like expenses go up,” Cerutti commented. “You hope to get some kind of an increase (in prices) to cover your rising expenses. That isn’t always the way it happens.”


Almonds: Excellent early season, disruptions for trades


Atypical week in the almond sector due to the current situation that has caused distortions in the markets and auctions.

In Mercamurcia, which was the only table that collected prices this week, there was a predominance of decreases, although smaller than in previous weeks, of between 1 and 3 cents in all varieties of almonds, except in the Ecological which went up again, with prices ranging from 5.17 euros in the Commune to 9.10 euros per kilo of Ecological. With this new rise, it is now at its highest level in the last four years.

On the other hand, the price table for almonds from the Albacete fish market has not met this week. While in the rest of the markets with tables of nuts as Reus, Tortosa and Ebro, no prices were set.

American almond shipments reach a new record

On the other hand, as every month, the Almond Board of California (ABC) publishes a position paper, which contains the most recent statistics on the almond trade in California’s Central Valley, where 80% of the world’s almond supply comes from.

According to the latest report with data from February, shipments reached 201.78 million pounds compared to 186.94 million pounds in the previous campaign, representing an increase of 7.94%, reaching a new record.

The ABC report shows robust shipments in most markets. India is enjoying increased consumption, and this is expected to continue. This market will continue to grow as almond trade expands outside the Delhi market to other regions of the country.

Shipments to China and Hong Kong continue to be affected by tariff problems and now by the coronavirus. However, it is anticipated that in the fall we will see a repeat of last year’s demand for supplies in the run-up to the Chinese New Year.

The Middle East markets are showing gains with Turkey and the United Arab Emirates leading the way. The European Union also continues to show good growth and above average increases for this area. Japan also shows a new increase.

On the other hand, the market has witnessed a weakening of prices since mid-December. But recently, prices have stabilised, generating greater buying interest and short-term demand.

The flowering of the 2020 crop has been excellent in California, with a good overlap, with new crop expectations close to 2.8 billion pounds.

As it could not be otherwise, the coronavirus is proving to be a major challenge for shipping logistics, as ports have been closed and containers and available space on ships has been limited.

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Almonds: Four phases of inspection from the huller to the packer


The Clipper: There are different phases of detection in the Tomra system. Would you please elaborate on that?

Brendan O’Donnell: We start with the hullers with a three-phase system before the sizer in the processing plant and four machines right before the packing. We are using a new machine, called the Tomra 3C: it is a machine which has been designed to be installed with a huller. If you have a 3 C in the huller you are able to track down the mummies. The removal of mummies is a benefit for aflatoxin reduction.

The Clipper: This is step one. Which are the others?

Brendan O’Donnell:The removal of foreign material and mummies makes all the other steps more efficient. The first machines which you see with a processor is the X-ray detection. We don’t recommend the x-ray for every application, for example in Australia it is not necessary because the orchard locations are so remote that any contamination by glas, plastic or other will not or very rarely occur. The advantage of the X-ray is the fact that rejects are real rejects like metal, glas and not the product and the product is very clean.

The Clipper: Are all these phases stand-alones, I mean, can the processor say, I want phase one, but then only phase three?

Brendan O’Donnell:In most cases we are building up our phases with what the processor already has. What we normally don’t have is a ‘perfect’ line. Take a piece of land and then you can do what you want. In most cases the users have a specific need and they want to include new machinery into their existing lines. We are not sorting grains, but we are sorting really high value products, and one per cent in your recovery rate can buy your set up every year.

The Clipper: Aflatoxin is a problem, which originally came up in connection with

pistachios. Now it is in the focus for almonds as well. How is Tomra helping

to discover contamination?

Brendan O’Donnell: We inspect the kernel. Our “detox” machine uses double sided lasers. These are specialty lasers  with infrared capabilities which are designed to  target aflatoxin and defects as well. It is necessary to see the aflatoxin. If it is inside the shell you can’t see it. You need to see some reflection of light coming back from aflatoxin.

The Clipper: I think that you agree with me that the real problem is exactly that. Brown kernels, green kernels  are relatively easy to inspect. As regards inspection they are like other nut kernels as hazelnuts or almonds. 

Brendan O’Donnell: Our equipment, you know, is really amazing, can do a lot, but looking inside the shell at this point is not possible without an X-ray, but we have an X-ray machine which can detect insect damage inside the shell. The machines  are getting better and better in time.

The Clipper: My feeling is that there is a certain reserve on consumers’ side against the application of X-ray.

Brendan O’Donnell: The x-ray is working at extremely low dosage. As you know, people working with x-ray are obliged to wear a badge-dosimeter which monitors any radiation during the process and – don’t forget – the whole process goes so quickly.

The Clipper: What I mean is any residual radiation on the product…

Brendan O’Donnell: I suppose that some people have reservation against X-ray. But you should remember that quite a lot of products are X-rayed before consumption, only to mention spices and other items like that. At this point it is more important to find some foreign material inside the product like glass, shell fragments, stones or metal, really dangerous materials.

The Clipper: Is it possible to detect aflatoxin on an x-ray machine?

Brendan O’Donnell: No, at this point it is not possible. Taking almonds as an example there are very little amounts of inshells – almost nil —  exported out of California. If the vast majority of kernels shipped to Europe are is going through our Detox machines before they leaves the US that would be a huge step forward. I would love to see these pre-export checks. Japan is a special case. They have their own method of sampling and pre-export checks are definitely out of question. The contamination is different from year to year due to winter sanitation programs in the orchards, bringing the mummies down and several causes deriving from climatic factors. 2019 was a terrible year for peanuts. We installed quite a lot of detox machines in the production areas; this way is is possible to detect any contamination

Almonds: Chaos theory on a global level


2019 was a very challenging time regarding all the issues coming up or underway. What you see are the small changes and how they will have a broader effect and conserquences. The strength of this industry is that we are pretty diversified. It is not the 60% tariff on almonds in China. China has been our third in line of export markets. So, a 60% tariff has a broader impact on the business we are doing there. Up to now you cant’s see a lot of effects on the consumers’ side. We are in a very dynamic and complex environment.

Jason Hafermeister, USDA Special Trade Advisor to Secretary Sonny Perdue, said “as we are going into this period of new thinking on trade” we have to bear in mind that US agriculture is surplus-based and dependant on exports and we should think about systems that help us keep these markets open. Since China has joined  the World Trade Organisation (WTO) in 2001 it became a 20 billlion-dollar market from one billion before for the US-agriculture. What we want with China, Japan and India is a free and fair trade.

Brian Ezell, The Wonderful Company, about the trade with China:”Trade volume between Australia and China increased by 14%.That was when the retaliatory Chinese tariffs on US agricultural goods were in place. The market potential was and is there, fueled by our ongoing efforts on this very important market. The China per capita consumption of almonds just doubled in the last few years as Australia is replacing US shipments which are bearing a 60% duty. We hope that the actual situation will change as soon as possible.” China, Ezell said, is a very fast moving and evolving market presenting great opportunities.

“Good morning, how have you eaten?” This is the typical morning greeting in China, as Connie Cheung pointed out. And this brought her directly to the point: marketing of almonds in her country. She referred to the social media scene: There is no public relations effort in China without the social media.

A major shifting of volumes to other markets

Julie Adams summarized the current situation in international trade: Nothing is happening quickly and nothing will be resolved quickly.”The diversity of our shipments is our strength. The Asian-Pacific region has become the most important outlet for our products and essentially has been driven by China and India. With the problems with China in sight, we see a major shifting of volumes to other markets for the eighteen months we are in the middle of the trade disputes now. Traditionally you saw direct shipments going to China and also into Hong Kong and Vietnam. What has happened has to do with Australia bearing a zero-tariff agreement with China as we started from 10% up to 60% import duty. In turn that helped product moving and an uninterrupted customer supply. In the last report period China took 25%  less, but  India went up by 16% and shipments to Australia went up by 50%. Our task in the last period was to fill up the pipeline to India and Australia.

Despite the 25% drop in exports China continues to be our third-biggest destination. The trade dispute represents a certain damper to our export business but does not stop movements and realistically we see major increases longterm. Influencers, nutrition specialists as well as the trade is definitely committed to buy California almonds. That is what we are doing here in order to keep a flow of products into these markets and our partners on site in operation.

An eye on Europe

Emily Fleischman reiterated the fact that worldwide the ABC is maintaining eleven marketing programs. In Europe there are four programs. The activities on this market started more than twenty years ago. As in the past we had not enough money to drive separate programs in different countries, we had a pan-European approach, i.e. strategy, and changed languages according to the area we were dealing with. The countries at that time were the UK, France and Germany. The task is two-fold:  we want to establish new outlets for our products and, on the other hand, protect existing markets. In the meantime, the marketing team decided to have individual programs for selected markets. Last year we shipped 507 million pounds, i.e. 25%  of our total exports to Europe, 231 million pounds to India. Some twenty year ago Europe outpaced the US. That was less than one pound per capita.  Nowadays eating habits have changed due to education of consumers and bakers. Europe is a standout regarding product introductions. Kath Martino, Consultant to the Almond Board in the UK, talked about consumption trends in the market and made out three “P’s as being important – plant, planet and  personalization.

How does Brexit have an impact on our sales in Europe? What happens to the  tariffs in force for almonds? “The biggest issue we have to face are pesticides”, said Julie Adams and pointed out that  sustainability is very important in discussions and she recommends to continue “telling our story”. We have gone from grower self-assessments, correcting the unknowns or missing information and it is important to go through the whole supply chain by the key words ‘confidence’ and ‘trust’. There is a trend in regulatory circles because of trust in the source of food, verifying and how measure are implied on longer term basis.


As we look at India and see how dynamic this market is, we see tht many things happen at one time there. The regulatory issues, trade considerations. We went from 35 to 31 Rupees for inshell almonds and 100 to m 120 Rupees for shellednuts. It used to be 65 Rupees for almond kernels.

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