Duxton’s Agri Bits and Pieces – Vol. 358
Posted on: November 10th, 2017


This week’s quote of the week comes from Plenty’s CEO Matt Barnard, the vertical farming start-up which is currently at the centre of the largest ag-tech investment in history as it received USD200 million of funding in July.

“Relative to conventional agriculture, Plenty says that it can get as much as 350 times the produce out of a given acre of land, using 1 percent as much water…It is the most efficient [form of agriculture] in terms of the amount of productive capacity per dollar spent. Period.”


The U.S. Commerce Department, accusing Canada of unfairly subsidizing and dumping softwood lumber in the United States, on Thursday set final duties on imports and Canada said it would appeal the decision, which comes during tense NAFTA trade talks.

The duties would impose anti-dumping and anti-subsidy duties affecting about $5.66 billion worth of imports of the key building material, the department said.

The combined final duty rates range from about 10 percent to nearly 24 percent, lower than a preliminary range of about 17 percent to 31 percent.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau denounced what he called the “unjust and punitive” final measures while acknowledging they could have been worse.

“We are, I guess, pleased that they are not as bad as they were before but they still represent a burden on forestry workers and communities all across this country,” he told reporters in Brampton, Ontario. “We will continue to work with the American administration to resolve this in a negotiated way.” The U.S. Commerce Department said exporters from Canada have sold softwood lumber in the U.S. market at 3.20 percent to 8.89 percent less than fair value, and that Canada was providing unfair subsidies at rates of 3.34 percent to 18.19 percent.


One of this year’s best-performing Malaysian palm oil plantation companies is looking to drones, clones and even other crops to overcome challenges from labour shortages and price volatility.

“We started mitigating that risk two years ago – we went all out for mechanization,” said Peter Benjamin, chief executive officer of United Malacca Bhd. “That has helped us cushion all these labour issues. It also helped us a lot as far as the recovery of the crop is concerned.”

Palm oil companies in Malaysia, the world’s second-biggest grower, have been grappling with a tepid rebound in production from the 2015-16 El Nino as well as an industrywide shortage of skilled plantation workers. Futures rallied 15 percent this half on lower-than-expected supplies. Output in most of Malaysia probably peaked in July while production growth is also slowing in Indonesia, according to Godrej International Ltd. director Dorab Mistry.

A lack of plantation workers means fruit can’t be harvested on time, lowering extraction rates and oil quality. United Malacca uses mechanical grabbers to collect fruit bunches, a typically laborious task in hot and humid conditions. It’s also mechanized fertilizer and herbicide application while drones are used for aerial surveillance. The company is also boosting output through clones and hybrid varieties that yield more oil, Benjamin said. It’s planted about 1,000 hectares (2,500 acres) in Indonesia with clones and will plant another 6,000 hectares with clones and hybrids over the next three years. While the program is initially expensive, “the higher yield and oil extraction rate offsets whatever cost you put in the beginning. The payback is faster,” Benjamin said.



This week’s chart of the week comes from Bloomberg’s Florida Orange Crop Plunges to 71-Year Low After Hurricane Irma as the USDA releases its first post-storm forecast, with Florida, the largest U.S. producer’s orange production down an expected 21 percent.







This newsletter has been prepared by Duxton for circulation to its clients, who are accredited or institutional investors as defined in the Securities and Futures Act, Chapter 289 of Singapore and the Securities and Futures (Prescribed Specific Classes of Investors) Regulations (”Permitted Investors”), and is not intended for use by retail investors. The fund management industry in Singapore is regulated by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (”MAS”), and no person can act as a fund manager unless they are the holder of a capital markets services licence for fund management or are operating as a registered fund management company. Duxton Asset Management Pte Ltd holds a Capital Markets Services Licence to conduct the regulated activity of fund management for accredited and/or institutional investors.

This newsletter is for distribution only under such circumstances as may be permitted by applicable law. Nothing in this newsletter constitutes financial, investment, tax, legal or any other form of advice, recommendation or a representation that any investment strategy or recommendation contained herein is suitable or appropriate to a recipient’s individual circumstances, or otherwise constitutes a personal recommendation. In particular, nothing in this newsletter is intended to constitute financial advice under the Financial Advisers Act, Chapter 110 of Singapore. Duxton, its employees or its affiliates may from time to time hold, either directly or through the portfolios that it manages, an interest in some or all of the stocks or companies discussed in this newsletter. Where stock or company names are mentioned, it should not be construed that these are recommendations to buy or sell those stocks or companies. If you require investment advice please contact a regulated financial adviser.

This newsletter is published solely for general information purposes, does not constitute an advertisement and is not to be construed as a solicitation or an offer to buy or sell any securities or related financial instruments in any jurisdiction. No representation or warranty, either expressed or implied, is provided in relation to the accuracy, completeness or reliability of the information contained herein, nor is it intended to be a complete statement or summary of the markets or developments referred to in the newsletter.

This newsletter is not the basis for any contract to deal in any security or instrument, or for Duxton or their affiliates to enter into or arrange any type of transaction as a consequence of any information contained. Information from this newsletter must not be issued in any jurisdiction where prohibited by law and must not be used in any way that would be contrary to local law or regulation. Specifically, this newsletter is not directed at US persons.

To the fullest extent permitted by law, neither Duxton nor any of its affiliates, nor any of Duxton’s or any of its affiliates’ directors, employees or agents, accepts any liability for any loss or damage arising out of the use of all or any part of this newsletter.

Duxton specifically prohibits the redistribution of this material in whole or in part without the written permission of Duxton and Duxton accepts no liability whatsoever for the actions of third parties in this respect.

All third party data (such as Bloomberg) are copyrighted by and proprietary to the provider.