Algeria, Morocco sign agriculture cooperation agreements

Morocco and Algeria recently signed three cooperation agreements in the field of agriculture. Signed by Moroccan Agriculture Minister Aziz Akhannouch and his Algerian counterpart Rachid Benaissa, the first agreement aims to strengthen bilateral cooperation relations in the areas of plant protection, and facilitate the exchange of plants. Under the agreement, the health authorities of both countries will cooperate and work to protect plants in accordance with international phytosanitary measures. The two ministers also co-chaired the signing ceremony of a cooperation agreement between the National Institutes of Agricultural Research in Morocco and Algeria, and a framework agreement in the field of training, research and agricultural extension, which provides for the implementation of the Memorandum of Understanding, signed on April 25th in Rabat between the Ministries of Agriculture of the two countries. It mainly concerns the exchange of experiences and trainers in the field of education and agricultural professional training as well as the participation in scientific conferences held in both countries. Source: Maghreb Arabe Presse

Iraq sees drought cutting wheat crop

Iraq expects drought will cut its 2011 national wheat harvest to 1.75 million tons, below expectations and lower than 1.866 million tons produced last year, Hassan Ibrahim, Iraq's grain board chief told Reuters. ""Weather conditions and the drought that hit the (northern) areas were the main reasons. Rains came late,"" he said. Iraq's agriculture minister and officials had said they expected the wheat harvest for 2011 to reach between 2 million tons to 2.5 million tons based on good weather earlier in the year. Iraq is one of the world's largest grain importers, supplying a large public food ration program. It consumes 4.5 million tons of wheat and 1.2 million tons of rice a year, most of it imported. The northern areas around Mosul and Arbil are Iraq’s wheat producing heartland and have been hit by drought this year. Ibrahim said Iraq plans to issue a tender on Tuesday to buy 100,000 tons of wheat from any origin. He said Iraq has bought enough rice from the contracts to cover its requirements for 2011. ""We have imported the required quantity and have signed contracts to ensure the staple until the year end,"" Ibrahim said. Last month, officials said they had expected Iraq to produce an annual harvest of 4 million tons of wheat in three years time and be able to cover domestic demand, based on the new irrigation plans across the country. Iraq's agriculture ministry is boosting efforts to encourage farmers to use new irrigation methods to reduce the use of exploited water and help trim water shortages and combat drought. Source: TradeArabia News Service

Freiji, Nasrallah increase stake in Wadi Group

The Freiji and Nasrallah families, in collaboration with Horus Food and Agribusiness, recently purchased a 10% stake in Wadi Group from Commercial International Investment Company (CIIC). The deal, worth 250 million Egyptian pounds ($42m), increases the Wadi Group shares owned by both families and Horus Food and Agribusiness to 94%, up from the previous 84%. The signing ceremony was attended by Ramzi Nasrallah, Wadi Group vice president and COO, Ahmed Mohamed Abdalla, CIIC CEO, Hazem Shawki and Mrs. Gehan Fathi, Horus Food and Agribusiness managers. “The main driver for this deal was the medium to long term goals and growth that we are targeting at Wadi Group,” said Musa Freiji, president and chairman of Wadi Group. “The acquisition of the shares from CIIC is a major step for Wadi Group, especially in supporting our future expansions plans for new projects and factories, as well as our overall business plan in Egypt.“ The total number of shares acquired amounted to more than 6 million. The shares of Freiji and Nasrallah families came to a total of more than LE 223 million, while the share of Horus Food and Agribusiness reached more than LE26 million. Following the acquisition deal, the ownership structure of Wadi Group is as follows: Freiji/Nasrallah families 88.90%, Horus Food and Agribusiness 5.90% and Europro Holdings, run by the Lebanese Company Capital Trust, 5.20%. The issued and paid capital of the group is LE 59,305,300 divided into 59,305,300 shares valued at LE 1 per share. Source: TradeArabia News Service