Monday, 31 December 2012

Niche Market, Brazilian Exports & High Price In Nepal

The actress Gwyneth Paltrow is having a healthy-eating recipe book published this coming April which I am sure we will be hearing a lot more about between now and then (the Graham Norton Show perhaps?). Anyway, one of her 185 recipes is salmon burgers with pickled ginger. It doesn't immediately grab me but if you do give it a try, let me know what it is like.

The Virginia Farm Bureau is the state of Virginia's largest farmers organisation. It protects farmers' interests and dispenses help and advice. And a recent piece of advice to farmers is to grow ginger in 2013. According to Dr Reza Rafie, a Virginia State University horticulture specialist. "It’s a considerable niche market opportunity". Incidentally, the advice refers to the use of hoop houses. These are more commonly known as polytunnels in the UK.

If you are interested in growing ginger you can order ginger 'seed' from East Branch Ginger in North Carolina from the second week of January.

The Trinidad and Tobago Newsday reported on some of the shopping stories on the day before Christmas Eve in Port-of-Spain. One retailer was having a bad time selling boxer shorts and jerseys but was having more success selling ginger root for making ginger beer.

In my last post I mentioned the problems being faced by ginger farmers in Antigua who are being plagued by the Giant African snail. The same source, the Antigua Observer, has now reported on one particular farmer who has lost all of her ginger crop at a time of the year, Christmas, when ginger is very popular. Someone must be able to control these little blighters, surely.

We are about halfway through the Brazilian ginger export season now. December and January will see new ginger sent to Europe, principally the Netherlands.

The Caribbean Bottling Company produces Schweppes Ginger Ale for the Bahamian market. But recently production was suspended after an unusual taste was detected in the 12oz cans. At the beginning the problem was proving so difficult to resolve that representatives from Coca-Cola and the can supplier were brought in. It has now been alleged that a cleaning agent could be involved. (Source: Tribune 242 (1), Tribune 242 (2)).

Nepalese ginger farmers will be ending the year on a high. Last year, ginger was trading for as little as Rs 5 per kg but now it can fetch Rs 40 per kg. And the reason? Because the price was so low last year many farmers decided to give ginger a miss this year. This has resulted in a shortage thereby pushing up the price. (Source: The Kathmandu Post).

I'd like to finish by wishing you all a happy and prosperous New Year.

Tuesday, 11 December 2012

Husband Creches, Ginger Fraud, Giant Snails & Low Calorie Ginger Beer

Crabbie’s, famous for its ginger beers, is opening “man sheds” or "husband crèches" in a number of UK shopping centres for men to relax, drink ginger beer and play with gadgets during the Christmas shopping rush. The idea is that wives and girlfriends will leave their partner at a shed, spend some time shopping unhindered and unencumbered, and then collect him when it is time to go home. What an excellent idea. Clever people, these Crabbie's folk. (Source: Talking Retail).

The BBC carried an unusual story regarding a company who imported what it claimed was ginger into the UK but actually turned out to be garlic. The company informed HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) that it was importing thousands of kilos of ginger. But when the UK Border Agency checked a particular consignment it found 7,000 kilos of garlic. HMRC later checked previous shipping records and found that the company's importation of garlic had stopped. Over the same period the company's importation of ginger had increased five-fold. So why did the company pass off garlic as ginger? If you import garlic into the EU you have to pay an import duty imposed to protect EU garlic growers. Ginger does not incur any duty. The owner of the company, who has since disappeared, has now been found guilty in his absence of avoiding £2m in import duty. carried a feature on the increasing competition and developments in the UK brewing sector. Recent research from the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) has shown that there are now 1,009 breweries plying their trade in the UK. Much of the output from these breweries, many of them microbreweries, is aimed at the growing number of 18-24 year olds who are interested in trying flavoured beers. And a popular variety in this flavoured beer range is ginger-spiced real ale.

Concern is growing amongst farmers in Antigua who are losing their ginger and other crops to an invasion of Giant African snails, according to the Antigua Observer. Unfortunately there isn't an effective means of control or eradication so we will have to wait and see. Hopefully this isn't the end of the story.

I don't know much about ginger on Antigua but I do know that it was introduced to the island by the settlers and that the Antigua Brewery produces a ginger ale.

Good news for Fever-Tree, the British premium mixer drinks brand. It has won a listing with Tesco for its Naturally Light Ginger Beer. The low calorie drink contains 60 calories per serving and is made with the same ingredients as Fever-Tree's signature Ginger Beer with the exception of the sweetener where natural fruit juice is used instead of cane sugar. (Source: The Grocer).

The inhabitants of Kazakhstan drink about 3 billion litres of tea a year. This puts the country in the top five tea-consuming countries in the world. Much of this tea is black tea and much of this black tea is consumed with something added such blueberries or cranberries or, you've guessed it, ginger. (Source: Kazakh TV)

The Himalayan reports that in the last fiscal year Nepal exported Rs74.26 billion worth of products and that in the current fiscal year the target is Rs100 billion. Although ginger contributed a mere Rs280 million last year, for a lot of small farmers and their families it is the only source of income. Is a Rs1 billion target achievable as has been mooted? I sincerely hope so.