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Thursday, 4 August 2016

IDEAS: Ag-Tech Offers $100 Million Start-up For Dark Future

indigo startup 

Microbe-Coated Seed Startup Could Help Us Thrive In a Dark, Dry Future

A startup by the name of Indigo has attracted some new attention in the form of a new $100 million investment, one of the biggest the ag-tech field has ever seen.

Indigo’s premise is kind of dark. For all the optimistic startup-speak on its website and it the video below, it’s a company that hopes to create seeds resistant to your basic apocalyptic scenario, notably a lack of water, rampant use of fungicides and herbicides, and completely depleted soil.

TechCrunch has a nice tour through the company and what it does, but basically, Indigo’s products are seeds coated in a careful mixture of microbes—the very first of which, a cotton crop, is in mid-season, and none of which have been harvested yet. These microbes are carefully researched and catalogued by the company, placed into a vast database of more than 40,000 individual microbes along with clues about their possible uses in making up for deficiencies like lack of water and nutrients.

There are plenty of helpful microbes in soil already, some supplied by various dead plant matter and some by living plants. Ideally, a sustainable system uses crop rotation—swapping out crops every now and then—to replenish the microbes drained by one crop. But this is not the way things are done in corporate agriculture these days: monocropping is the norm, and those crops are even of the same specific varieties within the overall category of, say, corn.

modern farmer    

Investors hold about 465 billion euros of corporate investment grade bonds at negative yields, which is 11 times as much as they owned in such securities at the start of the year, BofAML estimated last month.
The U.S. Treasury Department said on Monday it expects to borrow $201 billion in net marketable debt in the July-September quarter, about $47 billion higher than its estimate in May, due to lower anticipated receipts and an increased cash balance on Sept. 30.
Saudi Arabia is taking unprecedented steps to shore up its finances as the collapse in crude prices hobbles domestic banks, which hold 2.26 trillion riyals in assets, in a country that gets more than 70 percent of its revenue from oil. SAMA is seeking to stimulate borrowing and boost the financial industry. Liquidity has tightened since the government withdrew some of its deposits and sold local-currency debt to banks to fund the budget deficit.

Venezuelan Credit Dashboard: $726 Million Comes Due in August

Oil price starts to decline again as heavy payments loom Venezuela, which has the largest crude reserves on the planet, has defied predictions of default since the oil collapse started in 2014 and analysts are split as to how long the nation of 30 million can hold out. With that in mind, Bloomberg is taking a close look each month at some of the key components that may determine its fate. Debt Payments The government and state oil company Petroleos de Venezuela SA need to pay $726 million this month after lighter payments in June and July, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Attention will now start to shift toward the last quarter of the year, when interest payments totaling almost $5 billion come due. Whether or not Venezuela can avoid a default may depend on if the government and PDVSA […]

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