Food & Agriculture Update: Brunei Makes Halal Certification a Requirement for Food Businesses

Food & Agriculture Update | August 7, 2017
Authors: Sunita Kapoor, Hai Pham, Timotheos Tan
 
LOOKING AHEAD
 
 

August 21: APEC High Level Dialogue on Food Security and PPFS Meeting

September 25-29: Save the Date - 39th ASEAN Ministerial Meeting on Agriculture and Forestry

 
THE COUNCIL'S TAKE
 
 

Brunei Makes Halal Certification a Requirement for Food Businesses

Brunei’s Ministry of Religious Affairs (MoRA) has issued a clarification following the recent Halal Certificate and Halal Label Order (Amendment) 2017, confirming that the country will now require all food entrepreneurs and restaurants to obtain Halal Certificates for all premises, and Halal Permits for all products. The Order also notably covers persons operating home-based food businesses, without distribution by wholesalers and retailers. The Brunei Islamic Religious Council has indicated that it may consider conditional exemptions based on the provisions of Chapter 49 (B) of the amendment.

Further details on the amendment were provided at a dialogue held by Darussalam Enterprise (DARe), including a panel headed by Javed Ahmad, DARe’s Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, and Haji Mohammad Hadilah bin Haji Abdul Manaf, Scientific Officer from the Halal Food Control Division (BKMH), MoRA. According to their information, the amendment would:

  • require any businesses (excluding product processing facilities) that prepare food for human consumption to apply for a Halal certificate;
  • require applications for each type of business and each business place under the same management;
  • limit applications for Halal certification to services-logistics, retailing, and warehousing businesses; and
  • require any businesses preparing food in a product processing facility to apply for a Halal label permit and comply with all Brunei Islamic Religious Council (MUIB) requirements.

The panel additionally advised businesses dealing in pharmaceuticals, health supplements, and traditional medicines to apply for a Halal permit for each of their products. Halal certification is not compulsory for the manufacture and sale of non-food products, including cosmetics, consumer goods, and non-oral pharmaceuticals.

Further details on Halal requirements and the application process can be found here.

USABC Meeting with Vietnam Vice Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Vu Van Tam

The US-ASEAN Business Council held a meeting with Vice Minister Vu Van Tam on 21 July; topics discussed include:

  • Antibiotic Regulations in Animal Feed;
  • Harmonization with Global Testing Standards for Imported Products;
  • Ban on the Importation of Distiller’s Dried Grains with Solubles (DDGS);
  • Suspension of Herbicides (including Glyphosate);
  • High-Tech Agriculture; and
  • Establishment of the Authority of Agro Product Processing and Market Development (AgroTrade).

The full notes from the meeting can be found here.

The Council is following up with key action items that include:

  • A conference showcasing international best practices and standards for managing antibiotics in animal feed;
  • A workshop reviewing international standards and tests for managing veterinary medicine; and
  • Reviewing the provision of evidence regarding the aluminum phosphate recirculation method for DDGS.

In addition, the F&A Committee does not currently have plans to conduct a mission to the APEC Food Security Week in Can Tho; instead, it plans to continue engagement with the Vietnam Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development during the 39th ASEAN Ministerial on Agriculture and Forestry (AMAF) in Chiangmai, Thailand (September 28-29), and a Food & Agriculture Industry Mission to Vietnam in November 2017. These meetings will provide opportunities to discuss high-tech agriculture, and review ways in which the Council can support the new AgroTrade authority.

U.S. Exports of DDGS to Southeast Asia Continue to Grow

The United States’ exports of distiller’s dried grains with solubles (DDGS) to Southeast Asia have shown an overall increase of 16% over the past marketing year, totaling over 1.7 million metric tons, according to data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and analysis by the U.S. Grains Council (USGC). The region, which represents the third largest market for U.S. DDGS, also accounts for 20% of overall U.S. DDGS exports, with many countries displaying a marked increase year-over-year. Notable examples include Thailand, which saw a 55% increase, to 630,000 tons; Indonesia’s 42% increase, to 348,000 tons; and Malaysia and Myanmar, which each saw an increase of more than 100%, compared to the same time the year prior. Vietnam, which saw a decrease in sales, still purchased over 490,000 tons in DDGS, and continues to rank as its seventh largest market. On multiple occasions, the Council has successfully advocated for the removal of import restrictions on DDGS exports in ASEAN this year.

 
IN THIS UPDATE
 
 
ASEAN
19 bidders from Southeast Asia to vie for NFA rice-supply deal

Brunei
Brunei Halal products enter UAE market in Mideast push
Halal Certificate, Permit must for all food businesses
Local tech startup among CACSC finalists
Boost for food sector as experts attend workshop
MADGrow Tech trailblazing through local agriculture industry

Indonesia
Indonesia Urges WTO to Reach Agreement on Protecting Small Farmers
The Contentious Fight to Protect Indonesian Palm Oil
Government revokes rice ceiling price regulation
Government works to improve productivity of oil palm plantation
Government wants House to scrap palm oil bill

Laos
Lao Central Bank Rejects Blame For Agro Investment Firm Default

Malaysia
Sabah wants tougher action against foreign fishing vessels

Myanmar
Myanmar and Japan cooperate to produce quality rice amid shortage
Ministry to lift ban on livestock export

Philippines
PHL seeks more elbow room in setting rice tariffs
Demand for VN rice to be stable in Q3
US pet-food exports to PHL seen expanding by 10%
Climate-proofing food production
‘Food security is the most challenging task’
The ‘meat’ of the story: D.A.’s Piñol renews drive for ‘clean’ food imports
Rice output likely grew 11% in Q2
Thai agri experts vow to assist PH in food safety benchmarking
PHL’s farm-insurance protocol flawed?
DA may avail of Budapest loan offer for water-treatment projects
DA keen on season-based rice tariffs
PHL meat imports down 16.33% in Jan-May

Singapore
Singapore, South Australia seal food innovation deal

Thailand
Thailand promotes organic agriculture with new incentives
Fishing feels pinch of migrant squeeze
Seafood export ban still on the radar

Vietnam
Hi-tech agriculture: a solution and a challenge
Agro-forestry-aquatic exports hit $20.45b in 7 months
Việt Nam’s corn imports to continue
Vietnamese exports rejected as exporters don’t understand US laws
Vietnam's coffee export plunge could raise global supply concerns
Vietnam wastes 1 bln USD in over-fertilization annually
Iran, Vietnam keen to boost agricultural cooperation
 
ARTICLE CLIPS
 
 
ASEAN

19 bidders from Southeast Asia to vie for NFA rice-supply deal BusinessMirror 24th Jul 2017
The National Food Authority (NFA) on Monday said 19 suppliers from Southeast Asia have signified their interest to participate in the auction for 250,000 metric tons (MT) of imported rice required by the government. Of the 19 companies that will join the open tender on July 25, the NFA said 10 are from Vietnam, six from Thailand, two from Singapore and one from Myanmar.

Brunei

Brunei Halal products enter UAE market in Mideast push Borneo Bulletin Online 25th Jul 2017
After making a successful entry into the United Arab Emirates (UAE) market recently, Halal major Ghanim International Corporation Sdn Bhd is setting its sights on the massive Middle East market, in bid to build bruneihalalfoods as an iconic international brand. The latest achievement and future plans of Ghanim International were revealed by its Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Dr Nur Rahman yesterday on the sidelines of the company’s Hari Raya celebration.

Halal Certificate, Permit must for all food businesses Borneo Bulletin Online 23rd Jul 2017
Following reports that went viral on social media in connection with the Halal Certificate and Halal Label Order (Amendment) 2017 recently, the Ministry of Religious Affairs (MoRA) has clarified that under the Order, all food entrepreneurs and restaurants in the country are required to get Halal Certificate for their premises and Halal Permit for products, according to the type of business they are running. In a statement issued yesterday, the ministry said any person who owns a food business such as restaurants, stalls or canteens must obtain the Halal Certificate. This also applies to persons operating businesses that make and sell food at home without distributing it to any wholesaler or retailer.

Local tech startup among CACSC finalists Borneo Bulletin Online 20th Jul 2017
Local tech startup AGROME IQ has been selected as one of the finalists for the 2017 Asean Create @Alibaba Cloud Startup Contest (CACSC) happening at WORQ in Kuala Lumpur tomorrow. The Create @ Alibaba Cloud Startup Contest is a series of contests for global entrepreneurs sponsored by the Alibaba Group that features the best startup entrepreneurs in the technology field, in collaboration with the famous media outlets, venture capital investors and top-level partners from around the world. Finalists will pitch their ideas to compete for the title of Asean Division Contest Champion.

Boost for food sector as experts attend workshop Borneo Bulletin 19th Jul 2017
Food experts from Korea and Brunei will gather at the ‘Trade Facilitation Workshop for Brunei Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises’ in Bandar Seri Begawan to discuss ways to boost cooperation in the food sector today. The workshop, organised by the Asean-Korea Centre, aims to enhance competitiveness among local food companies by introducing smart technologies and to further strengthen business partnerships between Brunei and Korea.

MADGrow Tech trailblazing through local agriculture industry Borneo Bulletin 18th Jul 2017
Minister of Primary Resources and Tourism Dato Seri Setia Awang Haji Ali bin Haji Apong yesterday gave a thumbs up to a new local agrotech startup which combines traditional farming methods with information communication technology (ICT) to help grow fresh vegetables at home with ease. MADGrow Tech has set up its headquarters at the Ministry of Primary Resources and Tourism (MPRT) in Jalan Menteri Besar, turning the former gym/lounge area at the ministry into an office and workspace, which now houses a greenhouse and several ongoing aquaponic and experimental vertical farming projects. The minister highlighted the growing trend of technology usage in farming during his speech at the launch.

Indonesia

Indonesia Urges WTO to Reach Agreement on Protecting Small Farmers netralnews.com 2nd Aug 2017
The Government of Indonesia, through its Permanent Representative of Indonesia in Geneva, has urges member countries of the World Trade Organization (WTO) to immediately reach a global trade agreement to protect small and poor farmers. "WTO member states need to immediately realize their political will to agree on a multilateral trade agreement in order to protect the interests of poor and small farmers," said Deputy Permanent Representative II Geneva, Ambassador Sondang Anggraini, in a press statement received in Jakarta on Saturday (7/22/2017). The statement was delivered by Ambassador Sondang in the session of the WTO's Committee on Agriculture Special Session (COASS) on 19-20 July 2017.

The Contentious Fight to Protect Indonesian Palm Oil Pacific Standard 25th Jul 2017
A new palm oil bill is the latest battleground in the fight over how to regulate Indonesia's plantation sector in the wake of the 2015 fire and haze crisis, one of the worst environmental disasters in the country's history. Legislators pushing the bill say it will help farmers and protect the nation's palm oil industry from foreign intervention. But critics say it is actually a plum deal for large corporations, as well as a means for vested interests to undermine peatland protection measures President Joko Widodo installed to prevent a repeat of the 2015 fires, which burned an area the size of Vermont, emitted more carbon daily than all of Europe, and sickened half a million people. The Indonesian Palm Oil Association has expressed its support of the bill. The lobby group's leaders speak often of a conspiracy by Western soybean and rapeseed oil interests to undermine Indonesian palm oil for competitive purposes. The Southeast Asian nation is the world's largest producer of the commodity, found in everything from chocolate to laundry detergent.

Government revokes rice ceiling price regulation The Jakarta Post 28th Jul 2017
The government on Friday revoked a regulation setting price ceilings for rice, following protest from traders and wholesalers. Trade Minister Enggartiasto “Eanggar” Lukita said he would invite all stakeholders to discuss a revision of Trade Ministry Regulation No 47/2017 on reference prices for rice bought from farmers and rice sold to consumers.

Government works to improve productivity of oil palm plantation The Jakarta Post 19th Jul 2017
The government has prepared 30,000 hectares of land for an oil palm replanting pilot project to increase productivity of the industry. "As a pilot project, we will replant oil palm trees on 30,000 ha of land," Agrarian and Spatial Planning Minister Sofyan Djalil said in Jakarta on Monday. The replanting project would be in an area where cooperatives were running strongly, given that cooperatives were expected to become the main players in the project, Sofyan added.

Government wants House to scrap palm oil bill The Jakarta Post 18th Jul 2017
The government has called on the House of Representative to delist the palm oil bill from its prioritized legislation program this year. Coordinating Economic Minister Darmin Nasution said on Monday that if the bill was passed into law, it was contradict other existing laws and regulations. “Based on our comprehensive review and consultation with various stakeholders, the government concludes that the palm oil bill is not yet needed,” he said in a hearing with the House’s Legislation Body (Baleg) on Monday.

Laos

Lao Central Bank Rejects Blame For Agro Investment Firm Default Radio Free Asia 21st Jul 2017
The Central Bank of Laos has rejected claims by the director of an agricultural company running a pyramid scheme that a warning it issued informing the public that the firm was operating illegally was responsible for the loss of millions of U.S. dollars of investor’s money.

Malaysia

Sabah wants tougher action against foreign fishing vessels The Star Online 21st Jul 2017
Sabah wants sterner action against encroaching fishing vessels to protect the state’s marine resources. Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Seri Yahya Hussin said while there were sufficient laws to protect marine resources, it was up to the navy, Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) and marine police to effectively enforce them. “We need drastic action to ad­­dress the problem of encroachment into our waters. What is needed is consistent and continuous efforts,” he said yesterday. Yahya, who is the State Agriculture and Food Industry Minister, cited Indonesia’s practice of destroying foreign fishing vessels which en­­croached into its waters.

Myanmar

Myanmar and Japan cooperate to produce quality rice amid shortage The Myanmar Times 19th Jul 2017
Myanmar and Japan will cooperate to produce quality rice seeds under a local project, Deputy Permanent Secretary of Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Irrigation U Myo Tint Tun, said. The project, which will take 5 years from September 2017 to February 2023, comes amid a shortage of quality rice seeds in Myanmar. The country has 17 million acres of paddy fields, a large swathe of which is unable to yield quality produce owing to weather conditions and poorly managed infrastructure. “The project is mainly to fulfill quality rice seed requirements and it will be implemented in cooperation with Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA),” U Myo Tint Tun said. Production will take place across 26 townships in the Ayeyarwady Region and across 7 townships in the Sagaing Region. Myanmar is trying to restore its former position as a chief rice exporter in ASEAN. It is aiming to export 2 million tonnes of rice in 2017-18. Currently, Myanmar exports between 1.5 million and 2 million tonnes of rice, according to the Myanmar Rice Federation.

Ministry to lift ban on livestock export The Myanmar Times 26th Jul 2017
The government has signalled its latest measure to boost the country’s agriculture and husbandry industries by offering loans to farms and lifting the ban on livestock export, according to the Ministry of Planning and Finance.

Philippines

PHL seeks more elbow room in setting rice tariffs BusinessMirror 2nd Aug 2017
The Philippines could set the maximum tariff rate on rice at a range of 50 percent to 700 percent, reflecting the government’s intent to have a wide policy space in balancing the interest of farmers and consumers. This was evident in the stance of the Executive and the Legislative branches during the meeting of the House Committee on Agriculture and Food Technical Working Group (TWG) on the amendment of Republic Act (RA) 8178, or the Agricultural Tariffication Act, on Tuesday. Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo of Pampanga noted that the Philippines is under pressure to convert the quantitative restriction (QR) on rice into tariffs, as it is the lone country that continues to implement it after South Korea and Japan have tariffied their import caps. However, Arroyo said the Philippines should invoke its independent foreign policy and should consider binding its rice tariff at 700 percent to protect local farmers.

Demand for VN rice to be stable in Q3 Vietnam Net 31st Jul 2017
Demand for Vietnamese rice is expected to be stable in the third quarter of the year, Vietnam Food Association (VFA) Chairman Huynh The Nang has said.Thus, rice traders will not have to worry about finding consumption markets, he added. The chairman made the statement after Vietnamese rice enterprises won contracts to supply 175,000 tonnes (MT) of rice to the Philippines through an open tender held by the country’s National Food Authority (NFA) on July 25. According to the association, in the bidding for 2-per cent broken rice export to the Philippines, four Vietnamese traders totalled 175,000 tonnes in the tender at different winning prices.

US pet-food exports to PHL seen expanding by 10% BusinessMirror 27th Jul 2017
The United States could increase its shipments of pet food to the Philippines by nearly 10 percent to $28.8 million this year, from $26.2 million a year ago, according to the latest Global Agricultural Information Network (Gain) report. The Gain report, prepared by the US Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) in Manila, said Filipino pet owners are expected to buy more pet food this year. “Exports of US dog and cat food to the Philippines more than tripled over the past 10 years and reached $26.2 million in 2016, up 10 percent over the previous year,” the report published on July 27 read. “The booming economy and higher disposable income contributed to the healthy export performance.” The Gain report noted that the Philippines is the top importing country of American dog-and cat food among all Southeast Asian nations. The country is also the 10th-largest export market in the world for the US, it added.

Climate-proofing food production BusinessMirror 25th Jul 2017
In his second State of the Nation Address, President Duterte again vowed that there would be no let up in government efforts to fight illegal drugs. What’s heartening is that he has also underscored the need for the state to ensure food security by preparing producers for climate change. While miners were blamed for the destruction of farms and aquatic resources, the President discussed his beef with them in the context of the impact of their operations on food production. Duterte cited the case of Mindanao, where food production is on the decline in recent years not only because of long dry spells, but also because of strong typhoons that battered the region. The strongest typhoon to hit the island since the 1970s was Typhoon Pablo (international code name Bopha), which made landfall in Mindanao in December 2012. The banana sector was hardest hit by Pablo, and it took farmers two years before they could fully recover from the devastation caused by the typhoon.

‘Food security is the most challenging task’ BusinessMirror 23rd Jul 2017
“The Philippine population, which now stands at a little over 100 million, tests government’s propensity to achieve food security for a nation, which ranks as the 12th most populous in the world.” In his keynote message, Science Secretary Fortunato P. de la Peña persuaded the National Agriculture and Aquatic Resources Research and Development Network (NAARRDN) to muster its best effort in ensuring the most productive research and development (R&D) effort toward attaining food security. “Food security, which is by far the most challenging task facing the Philippines, can best be addressed through collaborative research and development efforts, the right priorities and the best strategies,” the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) chief executive pointed out during the recent sixth anniversary celebration of the Philippine Council for Agriculture, Aquatic and Natural Resources Research and Development (PCAARRD), one of the sectoral councils of the DOST.

The ‘meat’ of the story: D.A.’s Piñol renews drive for ‘clean’ food imports BusinessMirror 23rd Jul 2017
The Philippines is exhausting possible measures to ensure that food—particularly imported ones—being sold in the local market is safe for consumption. The latest of the government’s action in securing Filipinos’ health is a series of measures imposed against meat imports coming from Brazil. Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel F. Piñol on July 20 ordered the dispatch of a technical team that would investigate Brazilian meat establishments exporting meat to the country.

Rice output likely grew 11% in Q2 BusinessMirror 23rd Jul 2017
The country’s palay production in the second quarter likely expanded by 11 percent to 4.1 million metric tons (MMT), from 3.69 MMT recorded a year ago, according to the latest report of the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA). In its latest report, titled “Updates on April-June 2017 Palay and Corn Forecasts”, the PSA attributed the increase to the expansion in areas planted with rice. “Palay production for April-June 2017 may slightly increase to 4.104 million MT [metric tons] , 0.23 percent above the April 2017 round forecast of 4.095 million MT and 11.1 percent higher than the previous year’s output of 3.7 million MT,” the report read. “Harvest area may increase by 0.02 percent from 0.94 million hectares. Likewise, yield per hectare may improve to 4.39 MT, from 4.38 MT,” it added.

Thai agri experts vow to assist PH in food safety benchmarking SunStar 18th Jul 2017
Agriculture officials of Thailand have expressed willingness to help the Philippines improve its food safety program through more benchmarking activities. Sanchai Tontyaporn, advisor to the National Bureau of Agricultural Commodity and Food Standards of Thailand, said the bid to boost food safety should start with good agricultural practices (GAP). Tontyaporn spoke about the Thai government's role in ensuring food safety in their country during the 2nd National Conference on Food Safety at SMX Convention Center in Bacolod City Monday, July 17. “Thailand is open to more benchmarking activities where people from the Philippines can study and learn our food safety practices, including GAP,” he said, adding that “as members of the Asean, we should help each other.”

PHL’s farm-insurance protocol flawed? BusinessMirror 15th Jul 2017
Most of those who benefited from the government’s agricultural insurance program (AIP) are government agencies and big farm owners, rather than the small and marginalized farmers, according to the Philippine Institute for Development Studies (PIDS).

DA may avail of Budapest loan offer for water-treatment projects BusinessMirror 19th Jul 2017
Manila is eyeing to tap a $500-million P25.46 billion credit facility from Budapest that would be utilized in establishing water-treatment facilities in the country. Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel F. Piñol said Hungarian Ambassador to the Philippines Jozsef Bencze informed him about the available loan from the European country during a courtesy call on Wednesday. Piñol added he is now discussing with Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III on how the P25.46-billion loan would be transferred to the Philippines.

DA keen on season-based rice tariffs BusinessMirror 18th Jul 2017
The Department of Agriculture (DA) has thrown its support behind the proposal of Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez’s to replace the country’s quantitative restriction (QR) on rice with season-based tariffs to prevent the influx of imports during harvest.

PHL meat imports down 16.33% in Jan-May BusinessMirror 16th Jul 2017
Philippine meat imports in January to May declined by 16.33 percent as local traders were discouraged from buying more expensive meat products from abroad. Government data obtained by the BusinessMirror showed that meat imports during the five-month period reached 224,637.742 metric tons (MT), lower than the 268,508.335 MT recorded last year.

Singapore

Singapore, South Australia seal food innovation deal Singapore Business Review 24th Jul 2017
The agreement will facilitate information exchange between the two countries. Singapore and Australia have signed a memorandum of understanding to establish and foster closer collaboration in food innovation.

Thailand

Thailand promotes organic agriculture with new incentives Oxford Business Group 25th Jul 2017
The state is launching a new programme to promote organic agriculture by encouraging a reduction in the amount of new rice planting, and a shift from commercial varieties to organic strains, Chutima Bunyapraphasara, deputy minister for agriculture and cooperatives, told media in early May. One aim of the programme is to reduce the area of standard rice cultivation by 1m rai (160,000 ha) within five years. Farmers who sign up for the scheme can receive financial support to assist them in buying organic seeds, reducing their dependence on pesticides, and building barriers to prevent contamination from neighbouring farmland. They will also be entitled to subsidies of BT2000 ($56.30) for every rai (0.16 ha) of land they cultivate for the first year, BT3000 ($84.50) per rai for the second and BT4000 ($112.70) for the third. The government hopes that up to 400,000 farmers will take part in the scheme over the next four years, and that another 600,000 rai (96,000 ha) of organic crops will be cultivated. Up to 60% of the harvests from the programme will be exported, Chutima said, while the rest will go to meet rising domestic demand.

Fishing feels pinch of migrant squeeze Bangkok Post 26th Jul 2017
The fishing industry is suffering from a major shortage of 74,000 migrant labourers, resulting from the state's recent measures on tackling human trafficking, says Mongkol Sukcharoenthana, chairman of the National Fisheries Association of Thailand. The critical labour shortage has forced 16,000 commercial fishing trawlers to remain docked over the past two years, resulting in dwindling income for the up to 20-billion-baht industry. Consumers were also burdened with higher prices of seafood products as supply has dropped by 40 to 50%, he said.

Seafood export ban still on the radar Bangkok Post 19th Jul 2017
Thailand faces the risk of having its seafood exports banned in Europe as Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha admitted Tuesday that efforts to tackle illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing (IUU) may fall short of convincing the European Commission (EC) to lift the country's "yellow card" warning status. Despite this, the premier sounded a note of optimism by insisting the EC was "satisfied" with his government's performance in dealing with labour and environmental problems that have plagued the fishing industry for decades. Agriculture and Cooperatives Minister Chatchai Sarikulya said the EC is scheduled to announce its position on Monday after it wrapped up a 16-day inspection on Sunday. Sources at the Fisheries Department said the EC team conveyed the message that Thailand must do more to combat IUU-related wrongdoing. "The EC is satisfied but wants us to speed up work in areas where we've not reached 100% of our targets," Gen Prayut said.

Vietnam

Hi-tech agriculture: a solution and a challenge vietnamnews.vn 2nd Aug 2017
Việt Nam has become known for its remarkable feat in becoming an agricultural powerhouse in a relatively short time, but it seems that the benefits accrued to farmers are not commensurate with the country’s comparative advantages and efforts. Far reaching agricultural reforms over the past 30 years have provided farmers with ‘catalysts’ and motives to produce and earn their living in a market-driven, open economy, becoming self-reliant in the process. These reforms have enabled significant achievements in export, food security and poverty reduction. However, recent studies have shown that agricultural growth has been slowing down and that added value created in the sector as well as benefits to farmers do not match the efforts made. About 24 million workers, i.e. 25 per cent of the country’s population or about 45 percent of the country’s labour force, are engaged in agricultural production, but the sector has only contributed roughly 17 per cent of the nation’s gross domestic product (GDP) and this has been decreasing for many years now.

Agro-forestry-aquatic exports hit $20.45b in 7 months Vietnam Net 30th Jul 2017
The export value of farming, forestry and aquatic products gained a year-on-year increase of 14.7 per cent, to US$20.45 billion, in the first seven months of this year, according to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development. The export value of farming, forestry and aquatic products gained a year-on-year increase of 14.7 per cent, to US$20.45 billion, in the first seven months of this year. Key farm produce raked in $10.89 billion, up 18 per cent while forestry products brought home $4.41 billion, up 10.8 per cent. The US, China and Japan were the three largest export markets of Viet Nam’s timber and timber products in the first half of this year, accounting for 70.2 per cent of total exports of those products. The markets with strong growth in timber export value included China (29 per cent), Canada (21.8 per cent), the US (18.7 per cent), Germany (10.6 per cent) and South Korea (9.2 per cent).

Việt Nam’s corn imports to continue vietnamnews.vn 28th Jul 2017
Việt Nam imported 3.53 million tonnes of corn in the first half of this year, up 5.6 per cent over the same period last year, according to the Crop Production Department. Last year 8.5 million tonnes had been imported, a year-on- year increase of 9.5 per cent, with Argentina, Brazil accounting for 47.2 per cent and 41.2 per cent of the imports. The imports this year are expected to match last year’s, the department said. The area under corn in Việt Nam reached 1.15 million hectares last year, with output being 5.24 million tonnes, the department said. According to the Institute of Policy and Strategy for Agriculture and Rural Development (IPSARD), about eight million tonnes, mostly from imports, are used every year to produce animal feed. The rest is directly used for food, food processing and producing bio-energy, it said.

Vietnamese exports rejected as exporters don’t understand US laws Vietnam Net 21st Jul 2017
A number of vegetable and fruit export companies may have their consignments refused as they are unaware of the requirements set by the import country. Nguyen Dinh Tung, general director of Vina T&T, confirmed that he was worried following a warning by US importers about the use of prohibited substances.  After discovering that consignments of fruits and vegetables from Vietnam contain carbendazim, US agencies imposed fines and destroyed the products, while threatening to stop the imports. Some exporters admitted that the regulation about prohibited substances was released a long time ago, but they did not pay attention to it. Meanwhile, others said they still cannot find alternative substances. Only in January 2017 did the Ministry of Agriculture & Rural Development (MARD) release the decision on excluding the plant protection products containing carbendazim, benomyl and thiophanate-methyl on the list of products allowed to be used in Vietnam.  The products containing the three active elements will still be traded and used for two more years.

Vietnam's coffee export plunge could raise global supply concerns VnExpress International 25th Jul 2017
Vietnam's coffee exports fell last month by more than a fifth from the same period last year, extending a downward trend that started in March following a smaller harvest this season and a higher ratio of low-quality beans, government data showed.

Vietnam wastes 1 bln USD in over-fertilization annually Xinhua 22nd Jul 2017
Vietnam wastes at least 23 trillion Vietnamese dong (over 1 billion U.S. dollars) annually in over-fertilization, the Vietnam News Agency quoted local experts as saying on Saturday.

Iran, Vietnam keen to boost agricultural cooperation Xinhua 16th Jul 2017
Iran and Vietnam have discussed boost of cooperation particularly in agriculture sector, Financial Tribune daily reported on Sunday.