"The fact that some geniuses were laughed at does not mean all who were laughed at were geniuses. They laughed at Columbus. They laughed at Fulton. They also laughed at Bozo the clown." Carl Sagan
In week ended 5th January, the deadweight prime cattle average price levelled on the week at 365.0p/kg. read more
As domestic lamb continues to compete with increased volumes of cheaper imports and demand remains subdued, DW lamb prices eased in week ended 5th January. read more
World prices eased back towards the end of 2012 although remained at levels comparable to the same period in 2011. read more
Having shot to record levels during September and October, GB finished pig prices continued to rise in November and early December, albeit more slowly. read more
The GB weekly average price rose by £4.63/t to £227.93/t and the free-buy average fell by £4.45/t to £330.74/t. read more
Mid-January saw the release of much-anticipated information from the USDA in the form of world supply and demand estimates, US winter wheat plantings, final 2012 production estimates and quarterly stocks. read more
The USDA data set a bearish tone for oilseed markets with upward revisions to US and Brazilian crops. read more
UK malting barley export prices are at €245/t FOB (spring, South Coast) w/e 11th April. read more
The latest National Statistics produced by Defra on the activity of UK hatcheries and poultry slaughterhouses. read more
USDA’s latest quarterly stocks report, released on 28th September, estimated US maize stocks (at 1st September) at 25.1m t, down 12% on the same point in 2011 and the lowest since 2004. read more
Travel broadens the mind – and business opportunities
A globe-trotting career has given John Giles, a director of Promar International, a wide perspective on the food chain, he explains to Bill Sherer
To have visited more than 60 countries in a work capacity is an achievement in itself. To have done this largely between the ages of 25-40 is perhaps more unusual.
John Giles, a divisional director of Promar International, the farm and agri food consulting subsidiary of Genus, started his agricultural consultancy career in this way and seems to be continuing in much the same vein.
In a career with Promar spanning more than 20 years, he has undertaken a wide range of assignments covering such areas as market assessments, supply chain analyses, business planning, evaluation and feasibility projects across the agri food sector, including major work in the horticultural, dairy, meat, fish, cereals, soyabean, rice and processed foods and drink sectors.
“Our UK clients include levy boards, government agencies, national and international food companies, retailers and foodservice operators, plus some 2,500 individual farmers,” Mr Giles explains.
“We also carry out assignments for corporate and government clients based in Latin America, the US, Canada, South Africa, Russia, China, India and across the rest of the EU.
“This provides a wide perspective on what is happening globally, locally and across the full supply chain. It allows us to bring considerable experience to bear on client projects as they develop their businesses in a rapidly evolving market place.”
The agri food arm of Promar International was acquired by Genus in 1999.
“This has been a major step forward as Genus has 30 offices worldwide,” says Mr Giles. “This is strategically important when undertaking international projects to service existing or new clients. For example, I have just returned from Chile where we have an office in Santiago and where we are working in the fresh and processed fruit sectors, as well as with nuts, dairy and meat businesses.
“There is great potential for what we do at Promar International, not only in the UK, but also in Eastern Europe, Asia and both North & Latin America and parts of Africa as businesses strive to meet the opportunities in new and existing markets and with the radically changing global economic balance of power.”
In an environment of increasing demand and growth in rapidly changing UK and global markets, Mr Giles says the business always needs high calibre people.
“There is great competition among highly talented people wanting to work for Promar International. We obviously look for evidence of a trained mind and, importantly, good interpersonal skills. We employ bright and intelligent staff, put an emphasis on staff development and training, and treat them as such,” he comments.
Mr Giles modestly says he has often been in the right place at the right time in his career and the word ‘fortunate’ crops up regularly in his conversation. This attitude underlies his commitments in other key areas of the sector. He is chairman of the Chartered Institute of Marketing’s food, drink and agriculture group, and a director of The Oxford Farming Conference. He is also vice chair of the Institute of Agricultural Management.
“I enjoy being involved with these organisations and there is also a sense of giving something back to an industry that has given me many opportunities,” he says.
He writes regularly for the agricultural and food media. “My enjoyment of writing probably goes back to when I was much, much younger and wanted to be a sports journalist.
I used to listen to football match reports on the radio and then aim to write a report from the commentary!”
Mr Giles is also in demand as a conference speaker. Audiences and subject matter vary considerably. “For example, I spoke in Sydney to an audience of 1,000 at an international dairy event on the global foodservice market and, in contrast, at an evening meeting in
“Irrespective of audience size, I enjoy the communication challenge these events provide,” he concludes.
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