@AtishBabu: Lifelong NYYankees fan but for few days will be sporting this souvenir from my time studying and working in Boston / on Instagram http://bit.ly/13hexYC
Weather Forecasting @SkymetWeather for India
The last few years, two questions really bothered me:
1) Why are weather forecasts in India so…
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- Harbour Grand Kowloon, Hong Kong
Feeding the World: The 9 billion-people question
Asia’s prospect of plenty
Food forms the foundation of societies. Nutritious, safe and sustainable food underlies prosperous societies.
Worryingly, mounting evidence points towards a coming global crisis in food. The world’s population is projected to reach 9 billion by 2050. To feed this huge number, some say global food production needs to increase by as much as 70%.
Asia’s peculiar problems are potentially more pernicious and complex than most. China and India alone comprise one-third of the global population. Besides the burden Asia carries to feed more than half of the world’s population, other challenges loom large.
Issues across agriculture, health and nutrition, and in the region’s economies and trading structures, threaten a perfect storm. Among its diverse countries, Asia is grappling with labour, dietary and health shifts, volatile food and commodity prices, growing urban-rural income disparities, and shortages in agricultural investment and technology. Moreover, the region faces intractable climate change, land and water constraints.
As the region’s economies continue to grow, feeding Asia nutritiously, safely and sustainably in the years ahead will prove challenging. What course of action should Asia’s businesses, political leaders and policymakers take? How will countries across the region cope?
Viewed positively, Asia’s prospect of plenty could be brighter than it is bleak. Innovative solutions for feeding Asia increasingly involve public and private partnerships. Though early days, government and industry are working together to strengthen agriculture with greater access to investment and technology. A broader trend of collaboration is afoot too as industry, government and multilateral organisations begin to approach problems, devise solutions and capitalise on opportunities—together.
As a global publication that seeks to apply the tools of economics to policy problems, The Economist is in an excellent position to convene stakeholders for a rigorous and thought-provoking discussion around the critical questions: how will we feed the world in future, and, particularly how will we feed Asia?
By gathering leaders at the highest levels across industry, agribusiness, politics and advocacy organisations, The Economist is sparking a timely and inclusive dialogue in this the inaugural year of Feeding the World: Asia’s prospect of plenty.
Integrated Dairy Farm Model
Investors can establish an integrated dairy farm, the salient features of which are as highlighted below:
• The investor would invest in constructing the infrastructure for housing, feeding, fodder storage, milking, veterinary care, breeding, milk chilling and storage
• The ownership of the farm would lie with the investor and the company would be responsible for the operation and maintenance of the farm
• The company can enter into contract farming model with the farmers for procurement of green fodder
• The management committee would supervise the milking and keep a record of the amount of milk given by each cow at every milking.
After cooling, the milk would be collected by the company and transported through insulated milk tankers for sale to other private dairies or for processing into value-added milk products at their own plant.
Initially, the milk produced from the own dairy farm can be utilised for manufacture of the processed dairy products including liquid milk variants which can be sold in the domestic markets. As the company would also involve the large scale contract farming for procurement of the fodder for the dairy farm, the farmers can be roped in for procurement of milk from them.
This would require the company to provide training, education and technical advisory services to the farmers for improved ‘‘milch” cattle productivity, resulting into increased collection to the company and better returns to the farmers for their produce.
Increased procurement would lead to varied multi-product mix with export potential as well.
The following are the strategic, financial and business impacts of the project:
• Strategic – The project will aim at significant reduction of production costs, maximising environmental benefits - a dramatic improvement in product quality.
The project would focus on establishing the profitability of the farms and bringing down the milk production cost through a mix of high herd size, better feeding practices and selective mechanisation and automation in terms of modern design/process/equipment for cattle rearing, milking, feeding, animal hygiene, manure disposal and effluent treatment plants.
• Financial – The investor needs capital investment of around Rs 7 crore towards livestock, construction cost and plant and machinery (depending on extent of mechanisation) for a 500 herd size farm.
Such projects have a payback period of five years with a projected IRR of about 19-24 per cent.
• Business – The project and presence will give a domestic/export footprint, increased association with farmers for fodder cultivation through contract farming and environmental sustainability through green energy measures.
Ideally to start off the project, the investor needs to:
• Finalise the project site, herd size and processed products mix depending upon the scanning of the region with respect to the agro-climatic conditions, topography, availability of social and physical infrastructure, labour, regulatory environment, availability of land for adequate fodder cultivation and procurement, availability of water, road/rail connectivity, domestic/export market potential etc.
• Prepare the detailed project report and business structure for the finalised herd size, product mix and site.
• Undertake the various project approvals and clearances to initiate the project.
• Undertake the final implementation on ground in terms of selection of technology partners/suppliers/contractors for infrastructure development.
The vast vegetarian population of India and cultural significance translates into demand for milk that remains in-elastic, despite the recent surge in milk prices.
Substantial increase in demand for milk over a period of time, with limited increase in production, has contributed significantly to milk inflation.
There is thus a need to develop innovative and implementable production models that are futuristic, and have a long-term vision of producing more milk/cow so as to ensure a milk secure country.
China’s growing fishing disputes with other countries continue to make global headlines. The most recent confrontation occurred in early May, when 29 Chinese fishermen and three vessels were detained by North Korea for alleged “illegal fishing.” This incident is the latest in a string of clashes that China has had with its Asian neighbors sharing the same waters, including South Korea, Japan, Vietnam, and the Philippines. Escalating fishing conflicts are usually attributed to unsettled territorial and maritime disputes, such as those found in the South China Sea and the Diaoyu Islands (also known as the Senkaku Islands), but these conflicts are also deeply rooted in China’s worsening fishing crisis.
As a result of income growth, many Chinese households are switching from subsistence- to nutrition-oriented food consumption. Fish has become an important source of high-quality animal protein. In 2009, consumption of aquatic products in China’s urban and rural areas reached 15.5 and 5.3 kilograms respectively, more than doubling in the past 20 years.1 Seafood accounts for more than half of the country’s total aquatic products. Consequently, its annual production has increased ten-fold during the last three decades.2
China’s ever-growing appetite for seafood is challenged by its dwindling marine fishery resources. In 2010, marine capture fisheries harvested 12 million tons, or 48 percent, of seafood. However, experts estimate that the sustainable level of the total catch should not go beyond 8 million tons per year, based on a report by the State Oceanic Administration.3 China’s annual catch has far exceeded the recommended level since 1997, and chronic overfishing has led to the irreversible degradation of the marine ecosystem. Species of traditional economic importance, particularly those at the bottom or near bottom of coastal fisheries, are ranging from “overexploited” to “depleted.” As a result, the fishing industry has had to turn to smaller species, causing the so-called “fishing down the food web” problem.
Here are nine things I learned from him:
- Be generous with praise. Everyone wants it and it’s one of the easiest things to give. Plus, praise from the CEO goes a lot farther than you might think. Praise every improvement that you see your team members make. Once you’re comfortable delivering praise one-on-one to an employee, try praising them in front of others.
- Get rid of the managers. Projects without project managers? That doesn’t seem right! Try it. Removing the project lead or supervisor and empowering your staff to work together as a team rather then everyone reporting to one individual can do wonders. Think about it. What’s worse than letting your supervisor down? Letting your team down! Allowing people to work together as a team, on an equal level with their co-workers, will often produce better projects faster. People will come in early, stay late, and devote more of their energy to solving problems.
- Make your ideas theirs. People hate being told what to do. Instead of telling people what you want done; ask them in a way that will make them feel like they came up with the idea. “I’d like you to do it this way” turns into “Do you think it’s a good idea if we do it this way?”
- Never criticize or correct. No one, and I mean no one, wants to hear that they did something wrong. If you’re looking for a de-motivator, this is it. Try an indirect approach to get people to improve, learn from their mistakes, and fix them. Ask, “Was that the best way to approach the problem? Why not? Have any ideas on what you could have done differently?” Then you’re having a conversation and talking through solutions, not pointing a finger.
- Make everyone a leader. Highlight your top performers’ strengths and let them know that because of their excellence, you want them to be the example for others. You’ll set the bar high and they’ll be motivated to live up to their reputation as a leader.
- Take an employee to lunch once a week. Surprise them. Don’t make an announcement that you’re establishing a new policy. Literally walk up to one of your employees, and invite them to lunch with you. It’s an easy way to remind them that you notice and appreciate their work.
- Give recognition and small rewards. These two things come in many forms: Give a shout out to someone in a company meeting for what she has accomplished. Run contests or internal games and keep track of the results on a whiteboard that everyone can see. Tangible awards that don’t break the bank can work too. Try things like dinner, trophies, spa services, and plaques.
- Throw company parties. Doing things as a group can go a long way. Have a company picnic. Organize birthday parties. Hold a happy hour. Don’t just wait until the holidays to do a company activity; organize events throughout the year to remind your staff that you’re all in it together.
- Share the rewards—and the pain. When your company does well, celebrate. This is the best time to let everyone know that you’re thankful for their hard work. Go out of your way to show how far you will go when people help your company succeed. If there are disappointments, share those too. If you expect high performance, your team deserves to know where the company stands. Be honest and transparent.
The Dalai Lama was asked what surprised him the most. His answer was Man.
Because he sacrifices his health in order to make money. Then he sacrifices money to recuperate his health. And then he is so anxious about the future that he does not enjoy the present, the result being that he does not live in the present, or the future, he lives as if he is never going to die and then he dies having never really lived.