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Growing the organic business

Growing the organic business

first_imgThe demand for organic fresh produce has increased across the world.Khanyi MagubaneEmerging farmers in Kwa-Zulu-Natal will soon be reaping the rewards of the growing worldwide demand for organic products. The South African government has signed an agreement with the Swiss company BioSwiss for the export of high-quality organic vegetables to the US, France and Britain.The eight-year memorandum of agreement with the Department of Agriculture and Land Affairs involves three land reform projects in Vryheid, KwaZulu-Natal. BioSwiss has invested R100-million (US$ 13.2-million) to develop a factory in the area.“We would like to expand this project to other regions of the province, once we see it successful in Vryheid,” says Gwelyn Owen, CEO of BioSwiss.BioSwiss will provide the communities involved in the project with financial backing and the technical skills for growing organic produce. They will also receive mentoring/training and business management, as they will have to deal with international clientele during the exporting process.The three land reform projects form part of the Department of Agriculture and Land Affair’s Land Redistribution for Agricultural Development (LRAD) project. This is a sub-programme of the land redistribution programme.LRAD has two distinct parts. Firstly, agricultural land is transferred to specific individuals or groups. Secondly, the programme deals with commonage projects, which aim to improve people’s access to municipal and tribal land primarily for agricultural purposes.The term municipal commonage is traditionally given to land owned by a municipality or local authority that was usually acquired through state grants or from the church. It differs from other municipally-owned land in that residents have acquired grazing rights on the land, or the land was granted expressly to benefit needy local inhabitants.What is organic farming?Organic farming avoids the use of synthetic fertilizers, pesticides, plant growth regulators, livestock feed additives and any other form of chemicals in the production process. Organic farmers rely on developing a healthy, fertile soil, and growing a mixture of crops. With respect to livestock, animals are reared without the routine of drugs and antibioticsAccording to the Soil Association, which promotes health and organic farming in England, more people are choosing to buy organic food because it tastes better, is safer from a health perspective and is environmentally friendly. Organic farming also requires that animals be kept in more natural, free-range conditions with a more natural diet.Organic AfricaIn South Africa, the organic farming industry is growing. From an estimated R5-million before 2003, sales of organic food grown in South Africa – domestic sales and exports combined – jumped to R155-million in 2005. This figure was expected to increase significantly in the 2006/2007 financial year.Organics South Africa, a non-profit organisation formed in 1994, engages with farmers, retailers and government. Its main aim is to “increase the awareness of sustainable farming methods and to assist in the recognition of the natural relationship between soil, plant, animal and mankind”.With its vast natural resources, Africa is quickly becoming the preferred supplier of organic foods. Three years ago, a report released by the Advocates’ Coalition for Development and Environment, an independent public policy, research and advocacy think tank, indicated that Uganda was the biggest exporter of organic products in Africa.According to the report, the number of organic farmers increased by 38%, from 28 000 in 2002 to 39 600 by the end of 2004. The report also indicates that Uganda has the largest area dedicated to organic farming (22 000 ha), making it the organic farming leader in Africa and the fourth largest in the world. Uganda’s climate and the fact that much of the land has been not been used for agriculture before makes Uganda ideal for organic farming.Useful LinksOrganic South AfricaSoil AssociationOrganic NewsAdvocates coalition for development and environmentDepartment of AgricultureDepartment of Land AffairsDo you have any queries or comments about this article? Email Khanyi Magubane at [email protected]last_img read more

RockDex Announces Merger, Fleshes Out Offering for Bands on the Social Web

RockDex Announces Merger, Fleshes Out Offering for Bands on the Social Web

first_imgjolie odell Somewhat similar to NextBigSound, which we reviewed shortly after their TechStars demo, RockDex is nevertheless unique in its offering, which is further enhanced by the Locker Partner merger.“NextBigSound is just displaying plays or friends,” said Winter. “RockDex has single-song information, geographical information, blog data, and it’s just more in-depth. They [NBS] are tracking more artists, but it’s clear that we’re head-to-head competition.”As a use case, Winter mentions an emerging band on a large independent label. “The manager was pushing for a certain track to be the next single, and the label wasn’t wanting it. But people were organically gravitating toward to the song the manager wanted to use; it was getting as many MySpace plays as their mega-single that was already out. The manager was able to use that as proof that that track should be used as the single.”And when it comes to touring, Winter said, “People are often surprised to find hidden fanbases” around which they can structure a tour schedule.As far as Locker Partner is concerned, Kansas City-based Schlappi has been a web/music veteran since 1996. He owned at least one label, worked in distribution, put on shows, and has worked on social media marketing strategies for labels in recent years. In partnering with Winter, Schlappi’s company willl bring programming and marketing expertise and help artists build marketing plans around RockDex’s analytics and data.“Not only do we know that Jimmy has the best tool to retrieve to data,” said Schlappi, “but we have the tools to help people make smart moves based on what the data’s telling them.“Almost everything that RockDex retrieves – we’ve been using that data, but we didn’t have it easily accessible in real time.”Does this Midwestern merger of two startups and the partnership between two experienced, passionate founders add up to a strong contender in the music metrics and marketing space? Keep an eye out for the RockDex redesign and new offerings to find out. Top Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hosting Related Posts A Web Developer’s New Best Friend is the AI Wai… While talking to musically inclined entrepreneurs Jimmy Winter of RockDex and Shannon Schlappi of Locker Partner, I was reminded of something startup-scene veteran Robert Scoble mentioned in passing at Gnomedex. “I want to see a CEO who is passionate about what that startup is doing,” he said. Business acumen be damned, Scoble and I agreed that a true fan makes for a great leader.Winter is undoubtedly a huge music fan; moreover, he’s got the web and business experience to make his own music-related web endeavors successful. Music Arsenal is one of his online-music-promotion-and-planning tools; we spoke tonight about RockDex, a tool bands can use to measure their social media clout and growth, as well as his upcoming merger with Locker Partner, which will allow those bands to take marketing actions based on the analytics RockDex already provides.Winter spent the end of his teenage years – and the end of the dotcom days – flying back and forth from the his home base in Omaha to Manhattan, where he worked as a web developer for Fastmusic.com. RockDex was created, he said, for artists to “understand where their fanbase is at and make decisions based on that information.”Back in June, Winter wrote on his blog, “We began RockDex simply as a cool site to track your online buzz, but the response has been so overwhelming we decided to take it a step further.” Since then, he’s created RockDex Pro, which allows for “deeper tracking, better results, detailed data and more.”Initially launched just before SXSW Music in March 2009, the site provided musicians with a score of their overal presence on the social web. RockDex Pro gives more in-depth information on how artists are represented and discovered across various social networks and blogs. Bands, labels, managers, agents, and others can use this information to understand how their marketing efforts are working, discover rising talent while it’s still off the radar, and understand customer behavior.We played around with RockDex, using indie label band Year Long Disaster as our test subject. We were able to discover a ton of great information about where their fans live online as well as where they are in the real world. (The guitarist/lead singer was shocked to his foundation that Last.fm was generating more plays than MySpace, for example.) It was also enlightening to read the tweets from users who attended the show where they opened for The Cult. Tags:#start#startups Why Tech Companies Need Simpler Terms of Servic… 8 Best WordPress Hosting Solutions on the Marketlast_img read more

Process begins to free J&K political leaders in phases

Process begins to free J&K political leaders in phases

first_imgThe J&K government has initiated a process to release at least 173 incarcerated leaders of the regional political parties, including those from the National Conference (NC), the Peoples Conference (PC) and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), in phases in the coming days.Sources said the Union Home Ministry had passed on directions to the J&K police to finalise the names of politicians to be released in the first phase. Those who “pose the least threat to the law and order situation” will taste freedom first.PC leader Imran Ansari, also a former Minister in the PDP-BJP regime, will be among the first to be released as he has complained of “ill-health.” Mr. Ansari, who is also a prominent Shia priest, will be allowed to attend the ‘Shia tazia’ (commemoration) gathering on the occasion of Muharram, the Islamic calendar’s first month, which starts next week. The police report suggests there are fears that the Muharram procession “may turn into an anti-India protest this time”.Meanwhile, the authorities lifted restrictions from 12 more police station areas in Kashmir as a spontaneous shutdown continued for the 23rd day on Tuesday.Mr. Ansari would be key to preventing such a situation. Many Shia priests will be called in the coming days “to seek their assurances on the law and order situation.”The police sources said prominent “ailing and ageing leaders” of the regional parties may be considered first for release from detention. NC’s Ali Muhammad Sagar, a former legislator and minister, and PDP’s Nayeem Akhatr, also a former legislator and minister, were being considered for release in the first batch. However, former chief ministers, NC’s Omar Abdullah and PDP’s Mehbooba Mufti, are unlikely to be released in the first phase, “on account of fears of eruption of protests.”More than 173 mainstream leaders and activists have been arrested in the clampdown.The Hindu has been able to access official data on the detention of legislators, former Ministers and party leaders. Around 70 leaders from the NC, 79 from the PDP, 12 from the PC and 12 from the Congress are under detention in Kashmir Valley. Around 30 are put up inside the Centaur hotel, declared a sub jail, and many remain detained inside their houses.last_img read more