Organic Lamb Meat to be Exported

sheep, round-up, réttir,

Organically certified sheep farmers in Iceland are looking to sell their meat to European markets, Bændablaðið reports.

Sale of lamb meat has been steadily declining in Iceland over the last few years, causing many farmers to stop their production and turn to other sources of revenue. At least six sheep farms in Iceland are certified organic and now those are looking to sell their lamb meat to Europe.

Andrés Vilhjálmson, head of export for Icelandic Lamb has been in contact with potential buyers overseas and is confident the deals will go through. According to Andrés, the transaction has been delayed due to the fact that, up until this point, organic lamb meat hasn’t been especially distinguished from regular lamb at the pertaining product facilities. After the next slaughter season, however, organic lamb will be separated as such and shipment to Europe can begin.

“Next season we plan to send most if not all organically certified lamb meat out of the country,” Andrés says, “which is around 20 tons of meat. We can expect organic lamb meat to command up to 15 to 20 percent higher prices in the markets we’re pursuing than regular lamb meat. A big part of that money would go straight to the sheep farmers.”

“This is hugely important for everybody, but especially for us organic sheep farmers, of course,” says Halla Steinólfsdóttir, farmer from Ytri-Fagridalur. “Our stubbornness and belief in the organic lifestyle is paying off,” she adds, urging the Icelandic government and the Farmers Association of Iceland to pay more attention to organically certified produce in their policy making and marketing in the future.

Icelandic Government Backs Venezuela’s Juan Gauidó

Minister Guðlaugur Þór Þórðarson

Guðlaugur Þór Þórðarson, Iceland’s Minister of Foreign Affairs has declared that he and the government of Iceland support Venezuela’s Juan Gauidó in his opposition to President Nicolás Maduro’s government, RÚV reports. The country has struggled in recent years as poverty and crime have reached an all-time high while its economy suffers and its system of governance has turned dangerously unstable.

Juan Guaidó is the leader of the disenfranchised Venezuelan legislature who on January 23 declared himself the president of the country, causing uproar amongst Maduro’s supporters.

Maduro, who succeeded president Hugo Chavez following the latter’s death in 2013, has proved a controversial figure, as Venezuela struggles with hyperinflation, food and medical supply shortages and exceedingly high crime and murder rate. Three million Venezuelans have left the country in recent years, according to a United Nations report, with numbers expected to reach 5 million by the end of the year.

“This has been a long time coming,” Guðlaugur Þór says. “We know what the situation in Venezuela is. In a country that is rich in resources, its current state is dire. The rightfully elected National Assembly [led by Juan Gauidó] has been stripped of its power. As things are now, the country is more akin to a dictatorship.”

The European Union and many countries around the world have demanded a new election in Venezuela and American president Donald Trump has threatened military intervention if the country’s situation remains unchanged.

Trump has denied Maduro’s request for direct talks who in turn has warned that Venezuela could turn into another Vietnam for the US, should the country intervene in Venezuela’s affairs.

As of now, Nicolás Maduro still has the support of Venezuela’s military, with Juan Gauidó making a concerted effort recently to turn their allegiance in his favour.

Storm Expected to Hit South of Iceland

Snowstorm Iceland

The Icelandic Meteorological Office has issued a warning for the South of Iceland as winds are expected to ramp up around noon today, RÚV reports. Selected roads on the South coast will be closed later today.

All around the country wind is expected to reach about 15 to 23 meters per second (33 to 51 mph), with winds in the South reaching about 20 to 28 meters per second (44 to 62 mph) and gusts reaching well over 40 (88 mph) in the mountains.

Large automobiles and other vehicles that might be vulnerable against strong gusts of wind are especially advised to keep safe, as many roads around Iceland are quite slippery after heavy snowfall and frost in the last weeks.

Furthermore, The Icelandic Road and Coastal Administration has announced the closure of selected roads in the South to ensure road safety. The road between Hvolsvöllur and Vík will be closed around noon and is not expected to open until 4:00 AM Wednesday. Additionally, the road between Núpstaðir and Höfn, that lies through Skeiðarársandur and Öræfi is expected to close around 16:00 PM today and remain so until 10:00 AM Wednesday.

Travellers are urged to follow matters closely on The Icelandic Road and Coastal Administration’s website and the website of The Icelandic Meteorological Office.