Food & Agriculture Update: Vietnam Sets Up First Food Safety Management Board

Food & Agriculture | March 17, 2017
Authors: Sunita Kapoor, Hai Pham, Trixia Apiado
 
LOOKING AHEAD
 
 

Save the Date: Food & Agriculture Industry Mission to Philippines (Manila & Davao), Week of 29 May 2017
Please contact Sunita Kapoor (skapoor@usasean.org), Hai Pham (hpham@usasean.org)  and Elizabeth Magsaysay-Crebassa (em.crebassa@usasean.org) if you have any questions.

 

Save the Date: ASEAN Agricultural Attaché Roundtable (Washington D.C.), June 2017
Please contact Hai Pham (hpham@usasean.org) if you have any questions.
 

8th Halal Certification Bodies Convention 2017 – Unity in Diversity
April 2-4, 2017. Sama- Sama Hotel KLIA, Sepang Malaysia
 

FFTT- From Farm to Table Expo 2017
December 6-9, 2017. Hall 5 and 6. ICE- Indonesia Convention Exhibition, Jakarta, Indonesia
 

Key areas of the Food & Agriculture Committee 2017 Workplan revised March 2017

  • Priority countries for 2017 are Indonesia, Philippines, and Vietnam
  • Annual ASEAN Agricultural Attaché Roundtable to be held in Washington D.C  within June 2017
  • ​F&A Industry Missions will be conducted to Philippines, Vietnam, and potentially Indonesia in 2017.
  • The committee will continue engagement with the 39th ASEAN Ministerial Meeting on Agriculture and Forestry (AMAF) in Thailand later this year.
  • Committee will also review and plan to engage with the APEC Ministers alongside the APEC High-Level Policy Dialogue on Food Security and Sustainable Agriculture in Response to Climate Change (August, Vietnam).
  • To expand the range of advocacy messages to cover digitalization of the agriculture sector, climate smart agriculture, and infrastructure (farm to market roads; post-harvest processing systems; cold chain projects).
  • To work on a booklet (possible other platforms such as a video) focusing on corporate social responsibility (CSR) projects (targeted towards smallholder farmers) undertaken by U.S. companies in ASEAN.
 
THE COUNCIL'S TAKE
 
 

Vietnam Sets Up First Food Safety Management Board

On March 11, the Ho Chi Minh City People's Committee announced the decision by Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc to create the Food Safety Management Board of Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC), making HCMC the first locality in the Vietnam to pilot food safety management run by a sole agency. The Board will manage food safety-related issues in production and cultivation to processing and distribution, with a focus on strengthening inspections, tests, and technical barriers to prevent unsafe food and ensure overall food safety. These inspections and supervisions will occur at wholesale markets, street food areas, canteens, and even illegal markets in the city. The board will also continue developing safe food chains and safe food trading models by cooperating with neighboring localities, as 80% of produce and food consumed in HCMC comes from these localities.

In the past, the departments of health, agriculture and rural development, and industry and trade managed food safety. Streamlining the management into one board is an effort to increase efficiency and professionalism. Finally, the board will be conducting administrative reforms to reduce red tape for enterprises, and the board's operation will lbe piloted over three years.
 

Cambodia Agriculture Ministry’s Forestry Administration Chief Removed

Late in February, Mr. Kim Sun, Agriculture Ministry’s Forestry Administration Chief, was pushed out of his position and promoted to Undersecretary of State. The Council of Ministers tapped Ung Sam Ath as the replacement chief. Kim Sun’s removal as Forestry Administration Chief was due to his failure to curb the country’s rampant illegal logging trade. Activists and conservation NGOs doubt the removal of Kim Sun will reform the ministry and significantly curb illegal logging trade. In 2010, Kim Sun’s predecessor Ty Sokhun was similarly removed as Forestry Administration Chief and moved to the position of Undersecretary of State for also failing to curb illegal logging trade. Many in the country advocate for stronger and efficient reforms and jail-time for corrupt top official instead of merely replacing high-ranking positions. 
 

Singapore’s Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority (AVA) halts imports of poultry from parts of the US

As of March 7, Singapore’s Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority (AVA) has temporarily suspended shipment of chickens, eggs and other poultry products from parts of the United States, a day after news of reported outbreaks of H7 high pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) in Tennessee and H5 low pathogenic Avian Influenza (LPAI) in Wisconsin. Singapore imports the majority of their chicken products from neighboring countries, and only a small percentage are imported from the US. However, an outbreak of H5N1 avian influenza also broke in Malaysia during this timeframe, which has raised caution in the country.

Other Asian nations including Japan and South Korea have also placed restrictions on US-origin poultry products because of the recent outbreak. Some 73,500 birds there were culled once the HPAI was discovered. It is worth noting that processed products such as canned chicken and pasteurized eggs were exempt from the suspension, as they are heat-treated for safety before export.
 

Asia Pacific Food Law Guide 2017 Edition

Baker and Mackenzie launched earlier in March the Asia Pacific Food Law Guide 2017, which offers key insights on food laws across the Asia Pacific. The purpose of this searchable and comparative microsite is to summarize food law regulation in 11 jurisdictions across Asia Pacific and to help food businesses navigate the complex regulatory area. Topics covered in the guide include local language and basic labeling requirements, country of origin labeling, mandatory warnings, product registration, import permit and clearance requirements. It is important to note that changes to the local laws and regulations in some of these areas occur frequently. 

 
IN THIS UPDATE
 
 
Brunei
‘Kurang manis, please’ - Making healthy choice the easy choice
MoHA gets B$131.7M budget
All round growth targeted by 2020

Cambodia
Forestry Chief Booted, Promoted, Avoids Jail

Indonesia
Indonesian farmers need business mindset: PISAgro
Jakartans to see revitalized urban forests by September
West Papuan villages awarded forest permits
Parliament committee says palm oil biofuels usage should end by 2020
Indofood Agri Resources: Material Risks From 42 Percent Contested Landbank And Labor Issues
Rice center to be established in Indramayu
Government to buy all paddy produced by farmers: Minister
Business watchdog smells cartel in chili distribution
Indonesia Dominates Global Retail Coffee Market
Indonesia to challenge tax avoidance among beef importers

Malaysia
Malaysia minister upbeat on palm oil prices
Malaysia’s biodiesel production to rebound this year
Sugar price hike prompts CIMB Research to upgrade MSM

Philippines
China to buy $1.7bn worth of Philippine agricultural produce
DA, DILG, MMDA, PNP sign MoU on 'food lane routes'
Taiwan-Philippines fishery meeting sees agreement on proposals
Japan going bananas for Philippine food exports as trade chiefs eye record business at FoodEx show
Land laws need to be harmonized
Australia investment body scouting for Mindanao agri, education opportunities
Illegal-fishing activities in Negros Occidental down by 90%–official
Sugar industry regulator intervenes to restrict imports of corn syrup
Duterte mulling halt in conversion of agri lands

Singapore
S'pore keeps import curbs on food from Fukushima
AVA halts imports of poultry from parts of the US

Thailand
Farmers flout crop warnings

Vietnam
Vietnam sees "hot growth" in catfish exports to China
Inaugurated Organic dairy farms 200 billion Euro
Vinamilk inaugurates Vietnam’s first EU-standard organic dairy farm
Vietnamese tea seeks brand development opportunities in US
Vietnam halts US poultry imports to prevent bird flu spread
China closes natural forests, Vietnam fears timber shortage
First food safety management board set up
 
ARTICLE CLIPS
 
 
Brunei

‘Kurang manis, please’ - Making healthy choice the easy choice Borneo Bulletin Online 12th Mar 2017
IN AN effort to combat the scourge of obesity, sugar-sweetened beverages (containing six grammes or more per 100ml), confectionary and chocolates will see the introduction of a ‘sugar tax’ while healthier products such as bottled water, milk, and beverages low in sugar will be exempted. This tax should be seen as a ‘nudge’ for consumers towards healthier choices that benefit themselves and their families.

MoHA gets B$131.7M budget Borneo Bulletin Online 10th Mar 2017
The Ministry of Home Affairs (MoHA) has been allocated a budget of B$131.7 million for the 2017-2018 financial year. In his budget deliberation on the fourth day of the 13th Legislative Council (LegCo) session yesterday, the Minister of Home Affairs, YB Pehin Orang Kaya Seri Kerna Dato Seri Setia (Dr) Haji Awang Abu Bakar bin Haji Apong, elaborated the main challenges that need to be addressed including the country’s slow economic growth.

All round growth targeted by 2020 Borneo Bulletin Online 2nd Mar 2017
The Ministry of Primary Resources and Tourism is targeting the gross output of agriculture, fisheries and forestry to grow at an average of 28.8 per cent per year (2015-2020) and worth $1.8 billion by 2020 compared to the average overall growth of 6.5 per cent per year (2010-2015) worth $511 million in 2015, figures revealed to the Bulletin indicated.

Cambodia

Forestry Chief Booted, Promoted, Avoids Jail The Cambodia Daily 1st Mar 2017
In April 2010, Prime Minister Hun Sen publicly threatened to put the Agriculture Ministry’s new Forestry Administration chief, Chheng Kim Sun, behind bars if he failed to curb the country’s rampant illegal logging trade. “This time Ty Sokhun can go free and walk away,” the prime minister said of the man he had just booted from the post after a lengthy run. “But if your turn comes,” he told Mr. Kim Sun, “it will be prison.” Seven years on, reports of illegal logging by NGOs and community groups are about as common as they were then. The military police have since been put in charge of cracking down on an illegal logging trade even the government admits had gotten out of hand. And traffickers continue to flood Vietnam with timber despite a year-old ban on exports. Yet at a handover ceremony in Phnom Penh this afternoon, Mr. Kim Sun will be gently pushed out of the job and, like his predecessor, promoted to undersecretary of state. The Council of Ministers approved his transfer on Friday and named one of Mr. Kim Sun’s deputies, Ung Sam Ath, to take his place.

Indonesia

Indonesian farmers need business mindset: PISAgro The Jakarta Post 15th Mar 2017
To sustain agriculture and increase crop productivity, big firms are being urged to not only trade with farmers but also to coach them in good agriculture practices and business management. “Indonesian farmers need to have a business mindset just like Australian farmers so they can develop the sector better. They need to be at the center of the stage. We need to fix their management and agriculture practices by creating better partnerships,” said Franky Widjaja, Partnership for Indonesia Sustainable Agriculture (PISAgro) cochairman during the 2017 Responsible Business Forum (RBF) on Tuesday. Most of the 40 million workers in the agriculture sector are small farmers with low productivity and profitability levels as a result of lengthy supply chains and a lack of access to financing, according to PISAgro’s research.

Jakartans to see revitalized urban forests by September The Jakarta Post 13th Mar 2017
Urban forests in Jakarta will have jogging tracks, fences and security posts when they are revamped starting in June, an official said on Monday. Jakarta Forestry Agency head Jaja Suharja said the city planned to improve four urban forests — in Cipayung, Munjul and Ciracas in East Jakarta, and in Cilincing, North Jakarta. “It is now still in the planning phase. The total budget for this project is Rp 1.5 billion [US$112,317],” he said as quoted by beritajakarta.com. He added that a tender for the project would be opened once the agency completed the planning phase and he expected the project to be finished no later than September. Jakarta has 14 urban forests regulated by gubernatorial decrees with a total area of 149.18 hectares, a low figure when compared to the city's overall 66,100 hectares. Altogether, the urban forests account for just 0.23 percent of the city’s total area. The ideal proportion, according to Law No. 63/2002 on urban forests, is 10 percent. (idb)

West Papuan villages awarded forest permits The Jakarta Post 10th Mar 2017
Residents of Manggroholo village and Sira village in South Sorong, West Papua province, rejoiced on Thursday as their villages were the first in Papua to have their rights to manage the island’s forests acknowledged by the government. The South Sorong administration handed over the hutan desa (village forest) permits to representatives of the villagers on Thursday.  The Environment and Forestry Ministry defines a “village forest” as a state forest not encumbered by previous rights and managed by a village to improve its welfare.

Parliament committee says palm oil biofuels usage should end by 2020 EURACTIV.com 10th Mar 2017
MEPs adopted a report on Thursday (9 March) urging the European Commission to phase out the use of palm oil as a component of biodiesel by 2020 “at the latest”. In November, the European Commission presented its draft proposal to review the Renewable Energy Directive (RED) for the post-2020 period as part of a Clean Energy Package (See background). “The cultivation of palm oil over the last 20 years has been the cause of 20% of all deforestation,” the EU lawmakers pointed out, adding that in 2014, 46% of all palm oil imported into Europe was used as fuel for transport representing a 34% increase compared to 2010. The report on Palm oil and deforestation of rainforests explains that the demand for palm oil will double by 2050, causing a severe environmental impact on countries like Indonesia, Malaysia, and other Asian countries, as well as in Africa and Latin America.

Indofood Agri Resources: Material Risks From 42 Percent Contested Landbank And Labor Issues Seeking Alpha 7th Mar 2017
Singapore-listed Indofood Agri Resources (Indofood Agri - US OTC:INDFY) is one of the largest oil palm plantation companies in Indonesia. With its five palm oil refineries, it also is the domestic market leader for branded cooking oils, margarine and fats. Anthoni Salim controls the company. Indofood Agri's market capitalization is USD 502 million. Summary: 42 percent of Indofood Agri’s 549,287 ha total landbank is contested. Contested landbank and alleged labor risks could have material impact on equity price. At least 36 percent of the CPO processed in Indofood Agri’s refineries comes from undisclosed sources. A RSPO complaint was recently filed accusing Indofood Agri of employing child labor and exhibiting poor labor practices.

Rice center to be established in Indramayu The Jakarta Post 13th Mar 2017
State-owned fertilizer company PT Pupuk Indonesia plans to develop a rice center to provide farmers with skill and knowledge as well as facilities to improve the quality of their rice in Indramayu, West Java. “Indramayu, one of the main rice producers in the country, is the ideal location to develop the rice center,” PT Pupuk Indonesia president director Aas Asikin said as reported by tribunnews.com on Monday. State-owned Enterprises Minister Rini Soemarno visited Mundu village in Indramayu regency last Friday to attend a presentation on the establishment of the center, which will be managed by PT Pupuk Indonesia Pangan (PIP), a subsidiary of PT Pupuk Indonesia.

Government to buy all paddy produced by farmers: Minister The Jakarta Post 9th Mar 2017
Agriculture Minister Andi Amran Sulaiman has stressed that the government would buy all unhusked rice produced by farmers from all over the country to ensure that paddy prices would not fall lower than the government price floor (HPP) of Rp 3,700 (28 US cents) per kilogram.

Business watchdog smells cartel in chili distribution The Jakarta Post 6th Mar 2017
The Business Competition Supervisory Commission (KPPU) is investigating suspected cartel practices in chili distribution, blamed for uncontrollable prices of the commodity, KPPU chair Syarkawi Rauff has said.

Indonesia Dominates Global Retail Coffee Market Tempo 6th Mar 2017
Indonesia increases its dominance over the global retail coffee market with an average sales growth of 19.6 percent each year throughout the last five years, followed by India (15.1 percent average growth) and Vietnam (14.9 percent average growth in second and third position, respectively.

Indonesia to challenge tax avoidance among beef importers The Jakarta Post 3rd Mar 2017
The government has launched a comprehensive investigation into tax avoidance committed by beef importers. A deal signed on Thursday by Finance Minister Sri Mulyani Indrawati and Business Competition Supervisory Commission (KPPU) chairman Syarkawi Rauf will enable directorates general under the ministry to work together with the KPPU on joint investigations and the exchange of data.

Malaysia

Malaysia minister upbeat on palm oil prices The Nation 8th Mar 2017
Malaysian Plantation Industries and Commodities Minister Mah Siew Keong hopes that crude palm oil (CPO) prices will continue to trend at higher levels, especially since the country has some 600,000 smallholders. He maintained his CPO price projection at RM2,700 (Bt2,130) to RM2,800 per tonne this year, higher than last year’s average price of RM2,653 per tonne and RM2,513 per tonne in 2015. “We hope that this year’s CPO price will continue to be good, but there are a lot factors that could impact it,” said Mah, adding that the Malaysian Palm Oil Board (MPOB) had not set any target on the number of stakeholders under the programme.

Malaysia’s biodiesel production to rebound this year The Star Online 7th Mar 2017
Malaysia is expected to produce between 800,000 and 900,000 tonnes of biodiesel in 2017 from 500,000 tonnes last year when the government implements the biodiesel mandate, said the Malaysian Biodiesel Association. Its president, U.R Unnithan said the B10 mandate implementation is expected to start anytime this year. The biodiesel B10 is a blend of 10% palm methyl ester (PME) and 90% regular diesel, while B7 is of a lower blend of 7% PME.

Sugar price hike prompts CIMB Research to upgrade MSM the star 2nd Mar 2017
CIMB Equities Research has upgraded MSM Holdings Bhd to Hold with a higher target price of RM4.43 on a news report the retail price for sugar in the country has been raised from RM2.84 a kg to RM2.95.

Philippines

China to buy $1.7bn worth of Philippine agricultural produce Bangkok Post 15th Mar 2017
MANILA - China on Wednesday signed deals committing it to buy US$1.7 billion worth of fruits and other agricultural products from the Philippines, the latest in a series of agreements in an era of cordial ties under President Rodrigo Duterte. Zhao Jianhua, China's ambassador to the Philippines, said purchases of Philippine products by China could further increase as Beijing seeks to balance trade with Manila. China has been enjoying a trade surplus with the Southeast Asian nation.

DA, DILG, MMDA, PNP sign MoU on 'food lane routes' Northbound Philippines News Online 14th Mar 2017
Metro Manila Development Authority Chairman/General Manager Thomas Orbos, Department of Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol, Department of Interior and Local Government Secretary Ismael Sueño, Philippine National Police represented by PNP chief Director General Ronald Dela Rosa signed a Memorandum of Agreement on the “Foodlane Project” on Monday (March 13, 2017) in Camp Crame, Quezon City. The project will designate “food lane” routes to ensure efficient delivery of Agri-fishery commodities, reduce post-harvest losses and transportation costs through eliminating additional fees and unnecessary checkpoints which add to some agriculture and fishery products.

Taiwan-Philippines fishery meeting sees agreement on proposals Focus Taiwan 10th Mar 2017
Manila, March 10 (CNA) Taiwan and the Philippines reached agreement on several fishery cooperation proposals during a meeting held Thursday in Manila, according to Taiwan's representative to the Philippines, Gary Lin (林松煥). In the third Taiwan-Philippines technical meeting on fishery affairs, representatives from Manila answered a request by Taipei, promising efforts to push for the legislation of a "sea-land passage bill" that would allow innocent passage by fishing boats from Taiwan or other countries through waterways between Philippines-controlled archipelagos, Lin said Friday. Such a bill would help to reduce fishing disputes, Lin said, adding that the fishery meetings have helped boost relations between Taiwan and the Philippines and their cooperation in law enforcement efforts related to fishing.

Japan going bananas for Philippine food exports as trade chiefs eye record business at FoodEx show FoodNavigator-Asia.com 8th Mar 2017
The 17-strong delegation of Philippine food firms showcased at FoodEx Japan this week is targetting record total sales topping US$28m from the four-day event – with banana-based products booming in the Far East. The exhibitors have a strong fruit focus, with products featuring banana, coconut, mango and pineapple, taking centre stage. According to Rosvi Gaetos, executive director of the Philippines Center for International Trade Exhibitions and Missions (CITEM), Japan is the country’s largest destination for fresh food, and second only to the US for processed goods, with business boosted by trade agreements.

Land laws need to be harmonized Arangkada 3rd Mar 2017
Out of control. This is how Elmer Mercado, a former environment undersecretary, describes the state of land use planning in the country. Food security and housing are two main issues in the tug-of-war over land use and, more recently, in the arguments for or against the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) proposal to ban for two years the conversion of farms into nonagricultural uses. ADVERTISEMENT But food and housing are just two pieces in the mosaic of overlapping land uses and “conflicting” laws on natural resources. “[Land use] is not only an agrarian issue. It’s an environmental issue. It’s a human rights issue. And it’s a good governance issue,” said Ifugao Rep. Teodoro Baguilat, former chair of the House committee on agrarian reform. Read more: http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/877053/land-laws-need-to-be-harmonized#ixzz... Follow us: @inquirerdotnet on Twitter | inquirerdotnet on Facebook

Australia investment body scouting for Mindanao agri, education opportunities Business World 2nd Mar 2017
DAVAO CITY -- The Australian Trade and Investment Commission is setting the stage for business and trade partnerships between investors from Australia and the private sector in Davao City and elsewhere in Mindanao, particularly in agribusiness, education and training.

Illegal-fishing activities in Negros Occidental down by 90%–official Business Mirror 1st Mar 2017
Illegal-fishing activities within  the Tañon Strait in Negros Occidental declined by 90 percent, after the government launched its intensified campaign against illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing,  and created Task Force Lawod in March 2014. “From an average of 100 fishing vessels, which regularly encroach on the municipal fishing grounds of various coastal towns in the province, the number of  violators dropped to less than 10,” Provincial Environment Management Officer Wilfred Ramon M. Peñalosa said. This as a significant development, especially since Negros Occidental is backing calls to protect the Tañon Strait Protected Seascape (TSPS), one of the largest marine-protected areas (MPAs) in the country.

Sugar industry regulator intervenes to restrict imports of corn syrup Business World 1st Mar 2017
The Sugar Regulatory Administration (SRA) has decided to regulate the importation of high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS), the use of which by industrial users is alleged to have dampened sugarcane demand. In its Sugar Order No. 3 dated Feb. 17 posted on its website, the SRA mandated that an importer or consignee of imported HFCS, and chemically pure fructose, must be an international trader duly registered with the SRA at the time of the application for clearance for release. Applicants for the release of imported HFCS and chemically pure fructose must also submit to SRA various requirements, before the application can be accepted for processing. The SRA further provides that the clearance for the release will indicate the classification of the fructose as either “B” for domestic market, “C” for reserved, and “D” for world market. Non-compliance with the new policies will make the importer or consignee liable to penalties as recommended by law. The SRA order was prompted by complaints from sugar industry stakeholders of the HFCS importation which “negatively affects the balance of production,” “threatens the livelihood of industry workers” and “impedes the growth of the sugar industry.” There was some debate whether the SRA had the authority to intervene since the commodity does not derive from sugarcane, the SRA board acknowledged. To this end, the SRA cited Executive Order 18, empowering the agency to maintain a “balanced relation between production and requirement” of sugarcane “at a level profitable to producers and fair to consumers.” Often used in combination with sugar, HFCS makes up a greater share of ingredients than sugar in soft drinks. The processing of corn products is more industrialized than that of cane sugar, leading to cost efficiencies that make it a preferred product for large-scale food enterprises.

Duterte mulling halt in conversion of agri lands philstar.com 1st Mar 2017
The executive order imposing a moratorium on the acceptance of new applications for the conversion of agricultural lands is still being studied but may be issued “soon,” Malacañang said Wednesday. Presidential spokesman Ernesto Abella said the Offices of the Executive Secretary and the Cabinet Secretary have convened to discuss the draft order, which was intended to promote food security. “The fourth version is already with ES (executive secretary) and that's under study and that should come out soon,” Abella said in a press briefing. In September, agrarian reform secretary Rafael Mariano said his agency has drafted an executive order imposing a two-year moratorium on the conversion of agricultural lands.

Singapore

S'pore keeps import curbs on food from Fukushima The Straits Times 12th Mar 2017
TOKYO • Singapore is keeping in place curbs on food imports from Fukushima, which six years ago yesterday was hit by an earthquake, tsunami and nuclear disaster, the Agri- Food and Veterinary Authority of Singapore (AVA) has told The Sunday Times. This is despite the authority having announced a review on easing curbs in January last year and Japan's repeated insistence that its strict food safety standards already exceed international requirements. The AVA did not say why it is retaining the curbs, but a spokesman told The Sunday Times that it "periodically reviews food import conditions to ensure food safety for our consumers, without unnecessarily impeding trade".

AVA halts imports of poultry from parts of the US Yahoo News 7th Mar 2017
Singapore’s Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority (AVA) has suspended shipment of chickens, eggs and other poultry products from parts of the United States, a day after the news of an avian flu outbreak in the state of Tennessee was reported. Products from parts of the states of Tennessee and Wisconsin were affected. Processed products such as canned chicken and pasteurised eggs were exempt from the suspension, as they are heat-treated for safety before export. Singaporeans should have little to worry about, however – the AVA says products from affected parts of the US make up a very small amount of the supply of processed chicken here. Other Asian nations including Japan and South Korea have also placed restrictions on US-origin poultry products because of the Tennessee outbreak. Some 73,500 birds there were culled once the highly pathogenic H7 avian influenza (HPAI) was discovered, in order to prevent the spread of the virus.

Thailand

Farmers flout crop warnings Bangkok Post 7th Mar 2017
Farmers in the Central Plains provinces are planting more off-season rice crops than allowed at their own peril, a senior irrigation officer warned. Bowdaeng Takaew, head of the Ayutthaya Irrigation Project, said many farmers in the Central region have refused to cooperate with authorities and gone ahead with planting the crops despite warnings of a water shortage this summer. A survey by the authorities found farmers in the Central Plains have grown more than 5.3 million rai of off-season rice crops, 2.7 million rai more than the Royal Irrigation Department (RID) is able to supply water for.

Vietnam

Vietnam sees "hot growth" in catfish exports to China Xinhua News 14th Mar 2017
HANOI, March 14 (Xinhua) -- Vietnam's catfish exports have experienced a "hot growth" of 24.2 percent-88.7 percent in the past five years, official statistics showed on Tuesday. In 2016, the country exported 304.7 million U.S. dollars worth of catfish to Chinese market, up 4.17 times over five years ago, reported local Vietnam Economic Times (VET) on Tuesday. The fact that Vietnam's catfish export revenue to China in 2016 almost doubled that of 2015 signals an opportunity and a good compensation as local firms are countering obstacles in other markets like the United States and the European Union (EU).

Inaugurated Organic dairy farms 200 billion Euro VietNamNet 14th Mar 2017
Invested more than 200 billion This event marked a new step on the journey of the pioneers Vinamilk bring the best nutritional products to consumers in Vietnam. The farm has a total investment of more than 200 billion in Lam Dong, with the scale of the original herd of more than 500 children and will continue to increase in the coming period. It is also the 2nd farm Vinamilk invested in Lam Dong Province (Vinamilk established dairy farms in Lam Dong province the first in 2012). Grasp the development trend of advanced Organic food in the world, Vinamilk has invested in developing Organic dairy farms Dalat meet strict organic standards of Europe. Right from the first votes Vinamilk has been honored by Global Organization of Control Union (Netherlands) certification: "Organic Dairy Farm first European standards in Vietnam".

Vinamilk inaugurates Vietnam’s first EU-standard organic dairy farm Tuoi Tre News 14th Mar 2017
Vinamilk, Vietnam’s largest dairy producer, has begun operating the country’s first-ever organic dairy farm to adhere to European standards, in the Central Highlands province of Lam Dong. Located in Tu Tra Commune, Don Duong District, the $8.7 million farm, certified by the Netherlands-based global network of inspection operations Control Union, has a herd of 500 imported cows. The cattle are fed no growth hormone but only organic grass with no pesticides, so that their milk will not contain antibiotic residue, company CEO Mai Kieu Lien said.

Vietnamese tea seeks brand development opportunities in US vovworld.vn 13th Mar 2017
(VOVworld) – A seminar has been organized in New York to seek opportunities for Vietnamese tea to enter the US market. At last weekend's event, experts highlighted the potential of Vietnamese tea products and said Vietnamese producers should join value chains and use more advanced technologies in producing and processing to improve the quality of their products to satisfy tough export markets like the US. Americans spend about 80 billion USD annually for tea products. Vietnamese tea firms were also advised to pay greater attention to building brands with high standards of quality and food safety. The seminar was hosted by the management board of a program called “Promoting the export competitiveness of small and medium enterprises” and the representative office of the Viet Trade promotion agency in New York,

Vietnam halts US poultry imports to prevent bird flu spread VnExpress International – Latest news, business, travel and analysis from Vietnam 11th Mar 2017
Vietnam has halted the import of poultry from two U.S. states as of March 10 where bird flu viruses have been rampaging, the Vietnamese government said Saturday. The temporary ban on raw poultry and byproducts is in place as the avian influenza virus subtype H7 and the H5N2 strain have been roaming in the states of Wisconsin and Tennessee, the government said in a statement, citing an agriculture ministry's directive signed Friday.

China closes natural forests, Vietnam fears timber shortage Vietnam Net 10th Mar 2017
Up to 90 percent of timber in the Central Highlands has been sold to Chinese, according to locals. Chinese businesses have been flocking to Vietnam to buy wood as their government has closed natural forests in 14 provinces in the country.  This has caused great anxiety among Vietnamese wooden furniture manufacturers. It is expected that China will have to import 50 percent of the volume of timber it needs, and the majority will be from Vietnam. Chinese businesses have been flocking to ASEAN countries to look for timber. However, other countries are also taking drastic measures to protect their timber resources.  Laos, Cambodia and Myanmar all have prohibited export of some kinds of timber. This has put pressure on the demand for hardwood from countries with developed wood processing industries like China, India and Vietnam.

First food safety management board set up Business World 1st Mar 2017
Speaking at the launching ceremony, Chairman of the municipal People’s Committee Nguyen Thanh Phong stressed the need to ensure food safety as it directly affects the health and living standards of the people. The formation of the board will help manage food safety-related issues in production and cultivation to processing and distribution, helping locals to feel more secure when purchasing local products, Lan added. As planned, the board’s operation will be piloted over three years, focusing on enhancing inspection and technical measures to prevent unsafe food from entering into the city, improving the efficiency of safe food chains and further developing safe food trading models. The board will give advice and consultations to the municipal People’s Committee to coordinate with neighbouring localities in building safe food chains as up to 80% of farm produce and food consumed in the city comes from other localities.