Food & Agriculture Update: Philippines prepares new excise tax on sugar-sweetened beverages

Food & Agriculture Update | June 8, 2017
Authors: Sunita Kapoor, Hai Pham, Timotheos Tan
 
LOOKING AHEAD
 
 

6-7 July - World Agricultural Forum 2017 (Singapore): Headlined as “Solving the Triple Challenge to Agriculture-Trade, New Technologies & Food Security”, the 2017 edition of the biennial World Agricultural Forum (WAF) will provide new insights on how governments, the private sector and non-governmental organisations are preparing for the future of agriculture in Asia. Co-hosted by the S.Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS), Nanyang Technological University, the conference will serve as a global platform to encourage dialogue among those who can and will create an impact. It will brainstorm the following themes:

•             Agriculture and Food Trade in the New World Order

•             Imperatives for Securing the Food Production Base

•             Technologies to Promote Sustainable Farming and Food Security

•             Good Governance, Partnerships and Agricultural Productivity

The conference also seeks to provide recommendations for policymakers and investors and will conclude with a 2017 World Agricultural Forum Declaration. For the conference programme, please click HERE. For enquiries, please contact: ishelenahuang@ntu.edu.sg.

Save the Date (July 19, Washington DC): ASEAN Agriculture Attache Roundtable

Save the Date (Week of September 25, Thailand): Business Mission to the 39th ASEAN Ministerial Meeting on Agriculture and Forestry

 
THE COUNCIL'S TAKE
 
 

Philippines prepares new excise tax on sugar-sweetened beverages

The Duterte administration’s proposed tax reform package, approved by the House of Representatives on 31 May 2017 and currently awaiting passage through the Senate, includes a new excise tax on sugar-sweetened beverages. The new tax, set at P10-per-litre for beverages containing purely locally produced sugar, is slated to be increased by 4 percent annually, although the Finance Undersecretary, Karl Kendrick T. Chua, indicated that the Department of Finance wanted the annual increment indexed to inflation. Exempted products include 100 percent natural fruit juices, 100 percent natural vegetable juices, yogurt and fruit flavored yogurt beverages, meal replacement beverages, weight loss product and all milk products including infant formula.

Income from the tax is expected to total P47 billion; economic managers will allocate 85 percent of the proceeds to priority projects identified by the Department of Budget and Management, while the remaining 15 percent will go to programs to aid sugar farmers. This proposed excise tax comes on after an attempt by the Sugar Regulatory Administration of the Philippines back in March to help local sugar producers by imposing restrictions on imports of High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS), an ingredient often less expensive than domestically produced sugar, used in the production of many sweetened beverages. The proposed import restrictions on HFCS were subsequently overturned by the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), but the Government of the Philippines promised to use other policy tools to help support domestic sugar producers.

According to a Department of Finance price survey, consumer prices of sugar-sweetened beverages are expected to increase by between 2 percent, to as much as 140 percent, with soft drink and carbonated drinks prices rising by around 36 percent. The measure has received criticism from urban poor groups and consumers, who contend that it disproportionately targets low-income earners, who constitute 80 percent of the market for such products. In addition, the imposition of excise tax on a specific beverage, of which more than 80% products are foreign branded and/or manufactured by foreign invested enterprises may violate Philippines’ international commitments on “national treatment” between domestic and foreign products as well as the principle of non-discrimination between foreign and domestic investors. Many countries have eliminated their excise taxes on sweetened beverages due to negative economic impacts while failing to change consumers’ consumption habits. Among these countries are Denmark, Belgium, Ireland, Indonesia, Pakistan, South Africa, Zambia, Argentina, Egypt, and some states of the United States.

The latest text of the bill can be found here. The section on sugar sweetened beverages can be reviewed from pages 48-52.

Indonesia bans imports of antibiotics and hormones for use as commercial animal feed additives

On 9 May 2017, the Indonesian Minister of Agriculture, Amran Sulaiman, signed Ministerial Regulation Number 14/Permentan/PK350/5/2017, on the Classification of Veterinary Medicine, to allow companies to submit import recommendations for all antibiotics growth promoters (AGPs) until September 30. Additionally, recommendations will have a validity period of three months, effectively allowing the import of AGPs, and their sale by qualified companies, until December 2017. However, starting 1 January 2018, AGPs can only be sold for therapeutic purposes – for treatment and control only. Meanwhile the use of AGPs in feed will be banned. All companies selling AGP products are required to resubmit relevant documents to obtain new registration codes as well as the approval to sell AGPs for therapeutic claims.

In relation to the use anticoccidials, such usage will be allowed in feed, for prevention purposes. Qualified companies can still import and sell anticoccidials. While anticoccidials are allowed, on the contrary, the use of beta-agonist i.e. ractopamine will be banned starting January 1, 2018. Beta-agonists, like other technologies used in livestock production, increase the efficiency of production of lean meat and reduces the fat content of the meat. Currently, there is strong indication that a transition period will be put in place, similar to what was done concerning AGPs.

Indonesia is in a strong position to support a growing food animal production system as well as potentially becoming a global supplier of food animal protein. The Council recognizes that antimicrobial resistance is of a food safety and public health concern to the Indonesian authorities and posits that responsible and judicious use of antibiotics via feed along with the use of approved veterinary products will enhance food safety, animal health and sustainability of livestock production in Indonesia. The Council had earlier submitted industry feedback and recommendations on anticoccidials and Beta Agonist (BA) 1 Ractopamine for the ministerial decree.

The full text of the Regulation, in Bahasa Indonesia, can be found here.

Singapore forms taskforce to check rising prices of formula milk

Singapore’s Senior Minister of State for Trade and Industry, Dr. Koh Poh Koon, announced on 22 May 2017 that a taskforce had been formed by the government to address the rising prices of formula milk, with key measures expected in place by the end of the year. "Our priority is to tighten regulations on labelling and advertising, facilitate imports of more formula milk options, raise public awareness, and encourage good practices in our hospitals," he said. The taskforce will include Senior Minister of State for Health Amy Khor, Members of Parliament (MP) Sun Xueling and Rahayu Mahzam, and senior paediatricians Marion Aw from the National University Hospital (NUH) and Chan Yoke Hwee from KK Women's and Children's Hospital (KKH).

Dr. Koh had initially provided an outline of the taskforce’s proposed measures in a Parliamentary session on 8 May 2017, in response to concerns raised by several MPs. The Competition Commission of Singapore had also released a report on 10 May 2017, detailing aggressive marketing efforts by major formula manufacturers. Following this, the Ministry of Health (MOH), the Health Promotion Board (HPB), and the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority of Singapore (AVA) have indicated that they will be encouraging greater price competition, strengthening public education efforts, and encouraging hospitals to provide stronger support for breastfeeding.

 
IN THIS UPDATE
 
 

ASEAN
Reform on the menu
Agribusinesses can help ASEAN achieve the SDGs

Brunei
Government targets 20pc rise in agriculture output this year
Halal food agreement to boost trade: Envoy
Brunei and Korea discuss bilateral cooperation in Halal food industry

Cambodia
Rubber prices sag under pressure
Government Launches $60 Million Project to Help Small Farmers
Cambodia to export more rice to China

Indonesia
Two state enterprises to convert sugarcane waste into fertilizers
Government to realize self-sufficiency in garlic in 2019
Government imposes zero-dollar exit tax on CPO
Indonesian beef price remains high despite influx of Indian buffalo meat
Government issues regulation on garlic import
Government to finish five irrigation dams in 2017
Government develops sembalun as garlic production center
Indonesia Secures $600m Loan From ADB to Beef Up Irrigation Systems
Indonesia aims for zero imports of garlic in 2018
Government certifies only 1 million plots of land as of May

Myanmar
Myanmar drafting new development strategy for agriculture sector
F2F Training Enables Myanmar Farmers to Increase Production and Access New Markets –
Rejoining Asia’s rice bowls
K64.5b agri loans in Mandalay
Agricultural development strategy to boost productivity
Myanmar plans agricultural development strategy - Xinhua | English.news.cn
Agro ministry urges more seed production by private sector
Eastern states’ agro output expected to grow under ESAP

Philippines
Low income households hardest hit by higher tax on sugary beverages
DA plans to lease out land for agro-forestry
Coca-Cola FEMSA PH registers in Sugar Order No. 3
PH dominates SEAsia in GM corn production

Singapore
How safe is your sashimi and sushi?
Singapore edging up as world’s second-largest shark’s fin trader
Crouching Panda, hidden Roo: Who is getting the hop on Singapore's food delivery market?
'Spongy' grass jelly in online videos is 'real chin chow': AVA

Thailand
Asia Rice-Vietnam prices hit 13-month high; Thailand up on lower supply
Thailand expects cap on sugar content by 2018
Thailand to clear government stock rice for sales
New sugar trading system from November

Vietnam
U.S.-Vietnam meeting yields progress on key U.S. pork trade issues
Can Tho prepares for APEC week on food security
Vietnam's agriculture needs sustainable solutions - News VietNamNet
Vietnam’s response to climate change? A shrimp and mangrove cocktail
Vietnam maintains ban on deep-water fishing in polluted area

 
ARTICLE CLIPS
 
 
ASEAN

Reform on the menu Bangkok Post 5th Jun 2017
Southeast Asia faces challenges of food security and nutrition as population growth and rising affluence increase food demand and competition for resources. Longer-term challenges include changes in consumption patterns, volatile food prices, climate change impact, conversion of agricultural land to industrial uses, and migration of labour from rural to urban areas. Food security, experts say, exists when all people, at all times, have physical and economic access to sufficient, safe and nutritious food that meets their dietary needs and preferences for an active and healthy life. In Southeast Asia, the number of undernourished people has continued its steady decline by about 50% over the past decade, as inclusive overall growth has resulted in benefits being spread more of the poor and vulnerable. Productivity gains in the agricultural sector have driven up the availability of food and significantly improved food access of the rural poor.

Agribusinesses can help ASEAN achieve the SDGs CSR Asia 24th May 2017
The results are in, and after nearly a year of research, collaboration, and analysis, CSR Asia is publishing two reports that highlight how the Agribusiness sector can play a fundamental role in achieving long-term regional sustainability in ASEAN. The reports are written for agribusiness companies that are, or want to be more engaged with smallholder farmers, aware of gender empowerment approaches, and seek to adopt inclusive business or/and gender transformative business models. These reports were developed as part of the Gender Transformative and Responsible Agribusiness Investments in South East Asia (GRAISEA) Programme, which is funded by the Government of Sweden. Led by Oxfam and involving a range of partners, including CSR Asia, the programme aims to improve livelihoods for small-scale producers in ASEAN through more responsible and inclusive value chains, private sector investments, and where women demonstrate economic leadership. The Agribusiness and the SDGs report focuses on the role that the agribusiness sector in ASEAN can play in helping with the achievement of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) from ending poverty and hunger to responding to climate change and sustaining our natural resources, food, and agriculture.

Brunei

Government targets 20pc rise in agriculture output this year Borneo Bulletin Online 4th Jun 2017
The Department of Agriculture and Agrifood is targeting a 20-per-cent increase in total output from agriculture, agrifood and livestock sectors for this year and expects to achieve a total output worth B$1,080.97 million by 2020.

Halal food agreement to boost trade: Envoy Borneo Bulletin Online 25th May 2017
THE Halal Industry and Halal Export Development and Promotion agreement that was signed during the recent bilateral meeting between His Majesty Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu’izzaddin Waddaulah ibni Al-Marhum Sultan Haji Omar ‘Ali Saifuddien Sa’adul Khairi Waddien, Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam and Rodrigo Roa Duterte, President of the Republic of the Philippines will further boost trade between the two countries.

Brunei and Korea discuss bilateral cooperation in Halal food industry Borneo Bulletin Online 25th May 2017
Hajah Tutiaty binti Haji Abdul Wahab, the Deputy Permanent Secretary (IT, E-Government and Industry) at the Prime Minister’s Office, said on Tuesday that the Halal food industry is a priority sector for Brunei Darussalam.

Cambodia

Rubber prices sag under pressure Khmer Times 23rd May 2017
The slowdown of regional and global economies, especially in China, US dollar appreciation, unfavourable weather and global stock market speculation have plunged rubber prices, the Association for Rubber Development in Cambodia said.   Association secretary-general Men Sopheak said yesterday that the price on the global market had dropped to between $1,600 and $1,700 per tonne from $2,400 in January and February.   “The price plunge was due to the regional and global economy, political issues around the world, the slowdown of the Chinese economy, speculation from investors in the stock market and US dollar appreciation,” Mr Sopheak said.

Government Launches $60 Million Project to Help Small Farmers The Cambodia Daily 24th May 2017
The government yesterday launched the first phase of a project to help 15,000 farming families commercialize their operations and bring their produce—rice, cassava, chickens and silk—to market.

Cambodia to export more rice to China World Grain 23rd May 2017
WASHINGTON, D.C., U.S. — China is expected to become a bigger export market for Cambodian rice, with reports suggesting China will import 200,000 tonnes of rice per year from Cambodia, according to a May 15 report from the Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).

Indonesia

Two state enterprises to convert sugarcane waste into fertilizers The Jakarta Post 5th Jun 2017
State-owned plantation firm PT Perkebunan Nusantara (PTPN) XI has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with state-owned fertilizer producer PT Pupuk Kujang to conduct research on the conversion of sugarcane waste into organic fertilizers.

Government to realize self-sufficiency in garlic in 2019 Antara News 5th Jun 2017
The Agriculture Ministry has targeted to achieve self sufficiency in garlic in 2019, sooner than its previously set target of 2033, Agriculture Minister Amran Sulaiman stated here, Monday.

Government imposes zero-dollar exit tax on CPO Antara News 2nd Jun 2017
The government has imposed a zero-dollar exit tax for crude palm oil (CPO) in June 2017, because the price of the commodity fell below US$750 per metric ton.

Indonesian beef price remains high despite influx of Indian buffalo meat ABC Rural 31st May 2017
Despite the importation of cheap Indian buffalo meat, the price of beef across Indonesia remains high. Indonesian consumers are once again forking out high prices to enjoy beef during the Islamic holy month of Ramadan, despite the influx of cheap buffalo meat from India.

Government issues regulation on garlic import Antara News 29th May 2017
The government has issued a ministerial regulation on import of horticulture products, that includes garlic on the list of products, under the governments import control. Trade Minister Enggartiasto Lukita told Antara here on Monday that the issuance of Ministerial Regulation no. 30/2017 was to revise the previous regulation, especially on the import of garlic.

Government to finish five irrigation dams in 2017 The Jakarta Post 27th May 2017
In an effort to increase agricultural production, the Public Works and Public Housing Ministry will finish the construction of five irrigation dams in 2017, an official has said.

Government develops sembalun as garlic production center Antara News 25th May 2017
The government has developed Sembalun region in East Lombok of West Nusa Tenggara as a garlic production center. State Enterprises Minister Rini Soemarno, Agriculture Minister Amran Sulaiman, and Village, Development of Disadvantaged Regions and Transmigration Minister Eko Putro Sandjojo have declared Sembalun as a garlic production center during their visit to the region on Wednesday.

Indonesia Secures $600m Loan From ADB to Beef Up Irrigation Systems Jakarta Globe 24th May 2017
Indonesia has secured a $600 million loan from the Manila-based Asian Development Bank, or ADB, to improve national irrigation systems in a bid to achieve food security and reduce nationwide poverty.

Indonesia aims for zero imports of garlic in 2018 The Jakarta Post 17th May 2017
The government is looking to achieve its goal of zero garlic imports in 2018, following an expansion of garlic farms across the country. “We aim to see 100,000 hectares of garlic farms next year. If 1 hectare [ha] can produce 5 tons [of garlic], we won't need to import anymore,” Agriculture Ministry spokesperson Agung Hendriadi told The Jakarta Post over the phone on Tuesday.

Government certifies only 1 million plots of land as of May The Jakarta Post 16th May 2017
Agrarian and Spatial Planning Minister Sofyan Djalil said his ministry could only certify around 1 million plots of land as of May from the total target of 5 million certificates by the end of this year.

Myanmar

Myanmar drafting new development strategy for agriculture sector Oxford Business Group 30th May 2017
In late April the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Irrigation (MALI) announced it was in the process of drafting a development strategy for the sector. The main targets of the blueprint are to improve sectoral monitoring, increase production and raise the sector’s competitiveness, officials said.

F2F Training Enables Myanmar Farmers to Increase Production and Access New Markets – Food Tank 27th May 2017
Complex challenges face Myanmar’s smallholder farmers. The United Nation’s Risk Model ranks Myanmar as the most at-risk country for natural disasters in Asia because of frequent floods, cyclones, and droughts. Declining soil fertility, unpredictable rainfall, and rising costs for inputs such as seeds and fertilizer cause further hardships for rural families. To overcome these challenges, producers are asking for technical assistance from the Farmer-to-Farmer (F2F) Program to help them identify and adopt low-cost, sustainable farming technologies.

Rejoining Asia’s rice bowls The Myanmar Times 23rd May 2017
Rice is one of the major sectors prioritised by the Myanmar National Export Strategy. The Strategy was designed to fuel the country’s sustainable development through export promotion and was first launched in March 2015 under the previous administration.

K64.5b agri loans in Mandalay The Myanmar Times 22nd May 2017
This year, K64.5 billion monsoon agricultural loans will be extended in Mandalay and loan amounts for other crops will also be increased, according to state-owned Myanma Agricultural Development Bank (MADB) of Mandalay regional Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Irrigation. After borrowing from the largest state-owned lender Myanma Economic Bank (MEB), the MADB will extend loans of K1.5 lakh per paddy acre and K0.5 lakh per acre for other crops, instead of the current level of K0.2 lakh per acre, to farmers starting from the third week of May, MADB regional manager U Win Myint told the Myanmar Times on May 17.

Agricultural development strategy to boost productivity The Myanmar Times 22nd May 2017
With technical assistance from Asia Development Bank, United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization and Livelihoods and Food Security Trust Fund, the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Irrigation (MOALI) is developing an agricultural development strategy to boost productivity in the agricultural industry.

Myanmar plans agricultural development strategy - Xinhua | English.news.cn Xinhua 22nd May 2017
Myanmar is planning an agricultural development strategy on the basis of the second five-year national development plan, official media reported Monday. With the help of the Asian Development Bank (ADB), the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the Livelihood and Food Security Trust Fund (LIFT), the strategy, once drawn up, will be released through workshops in the next two months to seek public opinions.

Agro ministry urges more seed production by private sector The Myanmar Times 22nd May 2017
Good quality crop seeds are necessary for the development of Myanmar’s agricultural sector and officials say they will encourage production of diverse crops instead of just paddy. Seed production should be encouraged for all kinds of crops and not only for paddy.

Eastern states’ agro output expected to grow under ESAP The Myanmar Times 22nd May 2017
The Eastern States Agribusiness Project (ESAP), which will benefit over 62,400 ethnic households, is to be implemented jointly by the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Irrigation (MOALI) and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD).

Philippines

Low income households hardest hit by higher tax on sugary beverages philstar.com 1st Jun 2017
Food manufacturers have expressed alarm over the potential impact on consumers of government’s move to increase the excise tax on sugar sweetened beverages (SSBs), saying those in the lower income bracket will likely take the hardest blow.  “Juan Dela Cruz will stomach most of the burden imposed by the SSB tax. The proposed model follows a one-size-fits-all mindset without due consideration for the common Filipino’s household budget for daily diet, including those that are considered pantawid gutom,” the Philippine Chamber of Food Manufacturers Inc. (PCFM) said.

DA plans to lease out land for agro-forestry philstar.com 1st Jun 2017
Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol plans to lease out to private firms government-owned lands suitable for agro-forestry businesses. Piñol will seek President Duterte’s approval of the Bantay Kagubatan program, a joint project of the Department of Agriculture (DA) and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) for the promotion of agro-forestry as a means of speeding up reforestation.

Coca-Cola FEMSA PH registers in Sugar Order No. 3 Manila Bulletin Business 31st May 2017
Coca-Cola FEMSA Philippines is now registered as an international trader under the Sugar Regulatory Administration Order No. 3, saying that it has always advocated for the development of the local sugar industry. “We are glad that this decision has been reached through meaningful dialogue among stakeholders. We are looking forward to sustaining this openness — especially the heightened collaboration and cooperation with the relevant regulatory authorities — in order to ease any operational transitions, and to preserve and improve on the healthy business climate foreign investors currently enjoy with the present administration,” the company said in a statement.

PH dominates SEAsia in GM corn production The Manila Times 20th May 2017
The Philippines continues to be the top producer of biotech crops in Southeast Asia as corn areas dedicated to genetically modified (GM) corn surged by almost a fifth last year, an industry report said. The International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-biotech Applications (ISAAA) reported that the country has outpaced Southeast Asia in terms of biotech or GM crop application, and ranking 12th biggest producer of such crops worldwide. The ISAAA was launched on May 4, 2017 in Beijing, China. ISAAA noted that around 185.1 million hectares of biotech crops were planted in 26 countries in Asia, Africa, Europe, and North and Latin America in 2016. Of this area, 812,000 hectares of biotech corn was planted in the Philippines, a 16 percent or 110,000 hectare increase from 702,000 in 2015.

Singapore

How safe is your sashimi and sushi? Channel NewsAsia 31st May 2017
Stringent standards and checks are in place to lower the risks from consuming sashimi and sushi, and consumers should only buy such products from credible sources, advised Singapore-based suppliers and supermarkets selling raw seafood products.

Singapore edging up as world’s second-largest shark’s fin trader Today Online 26th May 2017
SINGAPORE — Despite various moves here in recent years, such as hotels removing shark’s fin from their restaurant menus, for example, Singapore has moved up the ranks to become the world’s second-biggest trader of the product, a report has found. Traffic, a wildlife-trade monitoring network, and the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), which published the report, noted that an in-depth analysis of the trade here was hampered by a lack of detail in the Singapore Customs’ import and export data.

Crouching Panda, hidden Roo: Who is getting the hop on Singapore's food delivery market? Singapore Business Review 25th May 2017
Food delivery firms battle for sustainability. Singapore’s love for home delivered food is growing fast, with an estimated $250 million a year dispatched to hungry diners’ homes this year and could grow to $600 million by 2021. Amidst the growth, there are still a few cautionary tales and questions on the long-term sustainability of home delivered meals.

'Spongy' grass jelly in online videos is 'real chin chow': AVA Channel NewsAsia 25th May 2017
“It is okay to chow on chin chow!” the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority of Singapore (AVA) said, after two videos circulating online showed grass jelly that appeared “spongy”. In a Facebook post on Thursday night (May 25), AVA said laboratory tests have been conducted on samples from the feedback providers and they “were found to be real chin chow”. AVA added that it also conducted an inspection at the manufacturing facility of the grass jelly and found it to be “satisfactorily maintained with no abnormalities in their manufacturing process”.

Thailand

Asia Rice-Vietnam prices hit 13-month high; Thailand up on lower supply Reuters India 25th May 2017
Vietnam rice hit its highest level in over a year this week on potential export deals and prices in Thailand firmed up as supply eased, while the Indian variety gained on growing demand from Africa, traders said. Expectations of strong demand from top importing countries such as Bangladesh and the Philippines are fuelling the uptrend in Vietnam and Thailand rice prices. Vietnam's 5-percent broken rice RI-VNBKN5-P1 was quoted at a level unseen since April last year, at $360-$380 a tonne, FOB Saigon, up from $365-$370 last week, as suppliers eyed export deals, traders said. Bangladesh said on Tuesday it will buy 250,000-300,000 tonnes of Vietnamese rice immediately and planned to increase rice imports from Vietnam to 500,000 tonnes by end-2017. It will also buy one million tonne of Vietnamese rice annually until 2022.

Thailand expects cap on sugar content by 2018 FoodNavigator-Asia.com 5th Jun 2017
Thailand is expected to introduce a sugar cap by next year, according to the national food regulator.  The Food and Drug Administration said a bill to legislate for a maximum of 10% sugar and sweetener content in foods has been submitted to the government. It is expected to pass through parliament over the coming months. Those operating with a higher proportion of sugar and sweeteners would be forced to pay higher taxes, said Tipvon Parinyasiri, director of the FDA’s Food Control Division, who was outlining the sugar control measures as part of a draft of the new Excise Act. 

Thailand to clear government stock rice for sales Xinhua 29th May 2017
Thai government will clear all of the rice stockpile, some 5 million tons to increase rice prices for the long term, Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha said on Monday. Delivering a speech during Thailand Rice Convention 2017, Prayut said some 13 million of a total 18 million tons of rice in government stock has been released to the markets, securing some 112 billion baht (3.29 billion U.S. dollars) in sales over the last two to three years. The Thai government, according to the prime minister, has had to bear the storage cost of more than 1 billion (29 million dollars) per month. "We will clear all of the remaining stock in this administration in order to increase rice prices for the long term," Prayut said, adding they have made a five-year rice strategy plan to improve the quality of Thai rice.

New sugar trading system from November Bangkok Post 24th May 2017
Thailand, the world's second-largest sugar exporter, is introducing regulations to govern its sugar trading system for the 2017-18 crop, which commences in November, to bring the system in line with World Trade Organization (WTO) rules. The new system is unlikely to be a game changer, as it is designed to secure sugar supply for domestic consumption, but it will create additional risks for Thai sugar millers, according to industry officials. Somsak Jantararoungtong, secretary-general of the Office of Cane and Sugar Board (OCSB), which oversees the country's sugar issues, said all related parties including millers, farmers and the government agreed on the new system. It has been designed to govern Thailand's sugar industry in order to secure domestic sugar supply with the repeal of the quota system after more than three decades.

Vietnam

U.S.-Vietnam meeting yields progress on key U.S. pork trade issues National Hog Farmer 2nd Jun 2017
Following a meeting between President Trump and Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyễn Xuân Phúc, the two countries on May 31 announced plans to enhance political, diplomatic, economic and trade relations.

Can Tho prepares for APEC week on food security vietnamplus.vn 1st Jun 2017
The Mekong city of Can Tho has finalised a coordination plan on the hosting of the APEC week on food security and high-level dialogue on food security and sustainable agriculture development in response to climate change.

Vietnam's agriculture needs sustainable solutions - News VietNamNet VietnamNet 25th May 2017
Vietnam's agriculture needs sustainable solutions To achieve sustainable development, Viet Nam’s agriculture sector needs to improve productivity and quality as well as define the market structure for each farming product, experts said at the Viet Nam agricultural outlook conference in Ha Noi on Wednesday.

Vietnam’s response to climate change? A shrimp and mangrove cocktail IRIN 23rd May 2017
Like other shrimp farmers here in this lush, canal-lined province in Vietnam’s Mekong Delta, Nguyen Van A can instantly rattle off the precise percentage of saltwater in which crustaceans grow best. And at the moment, he insists with a smile, everybody knows that Ben Tre Province has the best brackish water in the world.

Vietnam maintains ban on deep-water fishing in polluted area The Seattle Times 17th May 2017
HANOI, Vietnam (AP) — Vietnam is maintaining a ban on deep-water fishing in four central provinces one year after a Taiwanese-owned steel plant discharged toxins into the sea and caused the country’s worst environmental disaster.