Wednesday, 15 August 2012

Import Concerns, Loans Write-Off, Crabbie's Back & Big Kahuna

Australian ginger farmers will be meeting this week to discuss a report which recommends the import of fresh ginger rhizomes from Fiji. According to The Weekly Times, it appears that the farmers are not necessarily concerned about the competition but more about the possibility that the imports could introduce exotic pests and diseases into the country. If the Australian government does allow imports, the ginger will have to pass a number of stringent tests and abide by certain conditions. Naturally, the ginger will have to be free from soil and any other visible foreign matter. Once harvested, the ginger must be inspected and certified by the Biosecurity Authority of Fiji. And finally, the ginger must be acceptable to the Australian Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry.

The Press Association revealed that Tesco stores in Scotland will stock the latest offering from Mackintosh of Glendaveny - a ginger flavoured rapeseed oil. That could be interesting. Ginger flavoured chips perhaps.

Last year, Crabbie's became one of Everton Football Club's official partners. The drinks company has announced on the club's website that it will be back for the start of the new season this coming weekend with the popular Crabbie's Alcoholic Ginger Beer and the newly rebranded John Crabbie's Cloudy Ginger Beer.

The Guardian from Nigeria carried an interview with Dr.Gloria Elemo, the Director-General of the Nigerian Federal Institute of Industrial Research (FIIRO). When asked what technological initiatives the institute has undertaken, Dr.Elemo responded with a number of examples including some ginger developments. The domestic production of ginger powder under the institute's guidance has reduced imports which has resulted in a corresponding saving in foreign exchange. And the production of ginger oleoresin (a naturally occurring mixture of resin and essential oil) has the potential, it is believed, to stimulate the rural economy.

Stone's Ginger Punch is now available for a limited period in 250ml cans decorated with the Union flag. The drink is a mix of ginger wine and lemonade (source: Packaging Europe).

The Indian state of Karnataka is normally one of the country's major ginger growing regions. I say "normally" because this year many parts of the state have been hit by a drought. For some unknown reason the monsoons decided to give this state a miss. To help ginger farmers (and producers of vanilla and arecanut), the repayment of up to Rs25,000 of loans has been waived. But, according to the Deccan Herald, the state government has been urged to waive all farm loans.

The Canadian Beer News announced that Vancouver-based Granville Island Brewing's Ginger Beer is returning again for the summer only. The 5.0% abv beer is brewed with malt, hops, yeast and Big Kahuna ginger from Hawaii.

Big Kahuna is an organic white ginger which is ideally suited to Hawaii. It has been widely distributed to growers throughout North America. But I did notice earlier this year that East Branch Ginger, a major ginger 'seed' supplier from Pittsboro in North Carolina, stopped supplying Big Kahuna for this season and replaced it with another Hawaiian organic variety called Da Kine Ruhi. This replacement variety differs from Big Kahuna in that it has yellow tips. Yellow in ginger indicates a high level of curcumin, known for its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.

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