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Mint explainer: why did the govt raise kharif rice procurement target?

Despite predictions of deficient rains in the second half of the monsoon, India’s rice production in the current Kharif season may exceed the previous year’s 110 million tonnes (mt), based on initial estimates from states. Accordingly, the food ministry on Tuesday announced that the target for next season’s procurement, beginning on October 1, has been raised marginally to 52.1 mt from the current season’s actual purchase of 49.6 mt. Mint takes a closer look at the latest developments.

Nigeria’s oil production plunges by 15.5pc in July

Oil production in Nigeria slumped by 15.5 percent in July from June, marking the third month-on-month decline since April, according to data from the local upstream regulator.

Last month’s oil production in the African OPEC member fell to 1,081,396 barrels per day (bpd) from 1,248,960 bpd produced in June, per the crude oil and condensate production data of the Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission (NUPRC) reported by local media.

Nigeria has consistently failed to produce to its quota in the OPEC+ agreement. The combination of pipeline vandalism and oil theft with a lack of investment in capacity has made Nigeria the biggest laggard in crude oil production in the OPEC+ alliance. Oil theft and pipeline vandalism have long plagued Nigeria’s upstream oil and gas industry, driving majors out of the country and often resulting in force majeure at the key crude oil export terminals.

Nigeria’s oil production is around 1 million bpd below its capacity. The government has cited a lack of investments, a shortage of funding sources because of the energy transition, and insecurity among the factors driving the situation.

Production starts at phase-11 of the world’s largest gas field

Iran’s South Pars gas field is one half of the world’s largest gas resource – the other being Qatar’s North Field – so any official announcement on production plans from there is a major event. It is even more dramatic if it relates to the often-delayed and exceptionally controversial Phase 11 of South Pars (SP11), which for a long time has been a focal point for proxy hostilities between West and East. Consequently, comments last week from Iran’s Petroleum Ministry that gas production has now finally started from Phase 11 has set pulses racing in Washington, Moscow, and Beijing. For Moscow and Beijing, the announcement sets the seal on years of maneuvering to play integral roles in developing the world’s biggest gas reserve. For Washington, it raises questions over Iran’s genuine commitment to agreeing a new version of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA, or colloquially ‘the nuclear deal’) in the next three months as planned.

Southern states suffer big losses in July’s milk production report

The July 2023 USDA Milk Production report spotlighted difficult conditions in the Southwest and California. The report showed a 0.6 percent decrease in year-over-year milk production with a total of 18.3 billion lbs. of milk. This was the first year-over-year decline since June 2022. Cow numbers also dropped by 13,000 year-over-year, down 3,000 head from last month.

Phil Plourd, president of Ever.Ag Insights, says that Texas and New Mexico output suffered. Miserable weather, especially in the Texas Panhandle, poor economic performance and the tragic explosion in April that killed 18,000 cows in the Lonestar state all played a part to the lower numbers.

California’s production dropped 194 million lbs., down 5.5 percent with 7,000 fewer cows. Texas and New Mexico both fell more than 50 million lbs. Texas was down by 60 million lbs., largely due to the massive barn fire this year. New Mexico fell 54 million lbs. on 17,000 fewer cows.

Tea association of India refutes allegation of adding artificial colours to products

The Tea Association Of India (TAI) refuted the allegation of adding artificial colours to tea products and maintained that tea producers associated with the TAI upheld the highest standards of authenticity, quality, and ethical practices. The statement came after the Federation of All India Tea Traders’ Associations (FAITTA) alleged that artificial colours were being added to packaged tea products.

The TAI in a statement said, Our members are committed to producing tea adhering to all regulatory requirements and industry norms. As part of the stringent evaluation process, tea samples from producers are thoroughly assessed by buyers before any purchasing decisions are made.

India’s troubled sugar crop could further boost global prices

A slow start to India’s monsoon season could reduce 2023/34 sugarcane production in some of the country’s key producing regions, potentially limiting India’s sugar exports and giving a further boost to global prices.

World sugar stocks have fallen for the past two years and are currently at the lowest level since 2011. That has helped push sugar futures prices up by 20 percent so far this year to multi-year highs. India, the world’s No. 2 sugar producer and the largest sugar consumer by far, can have a substantial impact on global sugar supplies as it periodically shifts from being a net exporter to a net importer.

Sweden to lift parliamentary ban on uranium mining

Sweden’s Climate Minister Romina Pourmokhtari has announced plans to lift the country’s ban on uranium mining and make way for greater nuclear energy capacity.

The Swedish Parliament has shown majority support for a lift on the ban, according to Pourmokhtari.

The government plans to build at least ten large reactors in the next 20 years to meet the demand for low-carbon energy. Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson told reporters in January that the government is “changing the legislation”, which will increase nuclear investment in the country.

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