|Food & Agriculture Update | June 8, 2017
Authors: Sunita Kapoor, Hai Pham, Timotheos Tan
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: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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|
Reform on the menu Bangkok Post 5th Jun 2017
Agribusinesses can help ASEAN achieve the SDGs CSR Asia 24th May 2017
Government targets 20pc rise in agriculture output this year Borneo Bulletin Online 4th Jun 2017
Halal food agreement to boost trade: Envoy Borneo Bulletin Online 25th May 2017
Brunei and Korea discuss bilateral cooperation in Halal food industry Borneo Bulletin Online 25th May 2017
Rubber prices sag under pressure Khmer Times 23rd May 2017
Government Launches $60 Million Project to Help Small Farmers The Cambodia Daily 24th May 2017
Cambodia to export more rice to China World Grain 23rd May 2017
Two state enterprises to convert sugarcane waste into fertilizers The Jakarta Post 5th Jun 2017
Government to realize self-sufficiency in garlic in 2019 Antara News 5th Jun 2017
Government imposes zero-dollar exit tax on CPO Antara News 2nd Jun 2017
Indonesian beef price remains high despite influx of Indian buffalo meat ABC Rural 31st May 2017
Government issues regulation on garlic import Antara News 29th May 2017
Government to finish five irrigation dams in 2017 The Jakarta Post 27th May 2017
Government develops sembalun as garlic production center Antara News 25th May 2017
Indonesia Secures $600m Loan From ADB to Beef Up Irrigation Systems Jakarta Globe 24th May 2017
Indonesia aims for zero imports of garlic in 2018 The Jakarta Post 17th May 2017
Government certifies only 1 million plots of land as of May The Jakarta Post 16th May 2017
Myanmar drafting new development strategy for agriculture sector Oxford Business Group 30th May 2017
F2F Training Enables Myanmar Farmers to Increase Production and Access New Markets – Food Tank 27th May 2017
Rejoining Asia’s rice bowls The Myanmar Times 23rd May 2017
K64.5b agri loans in Mandalay The Myanmar Times 22nd May 2017
Agricultural development strategy to boost productivity The Myanmar Times 22nd May 2017
Myanmar plans agricultural development strategy - Xinhua | English.news.cn Xinhua 22nd May 2017
Agro ministry urges more seed production by private sector The Myanmar Times 22nd May 2017
Eastern states’ agro output expected to grow under ESAP The Myanmar Times 22nd May 2017
Low income households hardest hit by higher tax on sugary beverages philstar.com 1st Jun 2017
DA plans to lease out land for agro-forestry philstar.com 1st Jun 2017
Coca-Cola FEMSA PH registers in Sugar Order No. 3 Manila Bulletin Business 31st May 2017
PH dominates SEAsia in GM corn production The Manila Times 20th May 2017
How safe is your sashimi and sushi? Channel NewsAsia 31st May 2017
Singapore edging up as world’s second-largest shark’s fin trader Today Online 26th May 2017
Crouching Panda, hidden Roo: Who is getting the hop on Singapore's food delivery market? Singapore Business Review 25th May 2017
'Spongy' grass jelly in online videos is 'real chin chow': AVA Channel NewsAsia 25th May 2017
Asia Rice-Vietnam prices hit 13-month high; Thailand up on lower supply Reuters India 25th May 2017
Thailand expects cap on sugar content by 2018 FoodNavigator-Asia.com 5th Jun 2017
Thailand to clear government stock rice for sales Xinhua 29th May 2017
New sugar trading system from November Bangkok Post 24th May 2017
U.S.-Vietnam meeting yields progress on key U.S. pork trade issues National Hog Farmer 2nd Jun 2017
Can Tho prepares for APEC week on food security vietnamplus.vn 1st Jun 2017
Vietnam's agriculture needs sustainable solutions - News VietNamNet VietnamNet 25th May 2017
Vietnam’s response to climate change? A shrimp and mangrove cocktail IRIN 23rd May 2017
Vietnam maintains ban on deep-water fishing in polluted area The Seattle Times 17th May 2017