Food & Agriculture Update: August 3, 2018

Food & Agriculture Update | August 3, 2018
Authors: Sunita Kapoor, Hai Pham, Samantha Pryor
 
LOOKING AHEAD
 
 

September 12/13: ASEAN Agricultural Attaché Roundtable
During the week of September 10 (exact date and time to be confirmed shortly), the Council will organize its annual roundtable with the ASEAN Agricultural Attachés in Washington, DC. This year, the roundtable will be co-hosted with the Embassy of the Philippines, who is currently chair of the ASEAN Committee in Washington (ACW), and will include economic and commercial counselors from several embassies. More details to follow, please contact Hai Pham at hpham@usasean.org with any questions.

October 8: Business Mission to the 40th ASEAN Ministerial Meeting on Agriculture and Forestry (AMAF)
During the week of October 8, the Council will organize its Business Mission to the 40th ASEAN Ministerial Meeting on Agriculture and Forestry (AMAF) in Hanoi, Vietnam. The Council is currently drafting a concept note addressed to the Ministers on key topics for discussion. The Council is also planning to conduct individual bilateral meetings with key priority ASEAN countries, as well as potential meetings with dialogue partners like China, Japan and South Korea. For more questions, please contact Sunita Kapoor (skapoor@usasean.org) and Hai Pham (hpham@usasean.org).

 
THE COUNCIL'S TAKE
 
 

New Singapore Food Agency to be Formed in April 2019
On July 26, the Singapore government announced the formation of the Singapore Food Agency (SFA), The SFA is set to officially begin work on April 1, 2019. SFA was developed as a statutory board to oversee all of Singapore's food safety and security, and will fall under the leadership of current AVA Chief Executive Lim Kok Thai. SFA will be managed by the Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources (MEWR), under which it will aim to help Singapore manage its climate change-induced global food supply challenges, as well as better position Singapore to seize global opportunities in the food industry. SFA will also work to maintain collaborative and positive relations with stakeholders in the food industry to develop solutions to some of the largest food-related issues facing the country, including advancing climate-resilient farming, improving food manufacturing techniques, and preventing oxygen-depleting plankton blooms from threatening fish stocks.

Prior to the development of SFA, the oversight of food safety and security was under the domains of the Agri-food and Veterinary Authority of Singapore (AVA), the National Environment Agency (NEA), and the Health Sciences Authority (HSA). By consolidating food safety and security under one agency, Singapore will be able to streamline its processes and minimize inter-agency confusion over what issues fall under whose responsibility. SFA will also lessen potential reaction times in responding to food-borne illness outbreaks and better coordinate product tracing and recall. Additionally, with the creation of SFA, food retailers and businesses will be able to get all of their production and distribution licenses from a single agency.

Food Safety Program Gets 4-Year Extension
On July 25, the Mekong Institute in Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, and Vietnam (CLMV) announced their decision to extend the food safety program, Promoting Safe Food for Everyone (ProSafe), by four years. Now set to conclude in 2022, ProSafe is currently focusing on increasing food safety in the region via improved general knowledge and skills development. At a Mekong Institute workshop on July 24, Maria Theresa Medialdia, Director of the Institute's Agricultural Development and Commercialization Department, stated that ProSafe's second phase will also work to provide safer food for consumers by improving regional value chains' sustainability, increasing overall professionalism in the food safety sector, and strengthening governments' commitment to an integrated and collaborative approach to food safety. Medialdia also noted the significance of upholding high food safety standards in order to meet rising demands from consumers and make nutritious and safe food more accessible to international markets. The long-term goal of ProSafe is to establish a network of skilled trainers who are capable of delivering food safety training across Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, and Vietnam. Finally, Medialdia re-enforced that food safety is not just an issue facing the government, and that the private sector is equally responsible for maintaining food quality and ensuring the safety of their products.

 
ADVOCACY UPDATE
 
 

2018 Food & Agriculture Industry Mission to Vietnam
On July 11-12, the Council organized its second Food & Agriculture Industry Mission to Vietnam, leading a delegation of nine companies to Hanoi with the goal of establishing productive dialogues with key agriculture officials and introducing them to the ways in which American business can support their national goals. During the meetings, Council leadership and members discussed ways to support the Government of Vietnam’s agriculture development objectives and promote the roles of international trade and foreign investment in improving food security and strengthening the role of agricultural sector as an engine of growth in the broader economy. Across the busy two-days, the delegation met with Chairman of the Office of the Government Mai Tien Dung, Minister of Health Dr. Nguyen Thi Kim Tien, Minister of Planning & Investment Nguyen Chi Dung, Vice Minister of Industry & Trade Do Thang Hai, Vice Minister of Agriculture & Rural Development Vu Van Tam, Vice Chairman of the Central Party Commission on Economic Affairs Dr. Cao Duc Phat (who is also the former Minister of Agriculture & Rural Development), and Chairman of the National Private Economic Development Research Board Truong Gia Binh.

The mission produced several key follow-up opportunities for members. Please click here to view the mission report. The following are some key actions items that the Council will be focusing on:

  1. Strategic Dialogue between U.S. Embassy Hanoi and Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development: How can F&A Committee members get involved?
  2. Joint Task Force with FPT Corporation: Outline some potential areas of cooperation (examples include lack of regulatory uncertainty, the need to elevate regulations to international science based standard, and raising awareness on new agricultural technology).
  3. Vietnam’s draft proposal on 10% tax on carbonated beverages.
  4. Links shared by the Office of Government: Vietnam government portal; Government portal for businesses
  5. Memorandum of Understanding between US-ASEAN Business Council and Vietnam Ministry of Agriculture & Rural Development. Please review and add in priorities as categorized under the different industry sector such as Agricultural Trading, Animal Health, Food & Beverage, Petcare, and Plant Science. Our target is for the signing ceremony to take place in Hanoi, Vietnam alongside the 40th ASEAN Ministerial Meeting on Agriculture and Forestry (October 10-12). Please submit your inputs to Sunita Kapoor (skapoor@usasean.org) by Friday, August 17 for a first draft consolidation. We will convene a planning call to discuss the MoU thereafter.

For questions, please contact Sunita Kapoor at skapoor@usasean.org

 
IN THIS UPDATE
 
 
Cambodia
Pepper group says Kampot yields will be down 26%
Advancing the local agriculture sector
Salt body to import 30k tonnes from Thailand, China
Corn harvest begins in northeast amid price dip
Food safety programme gets 5-year extension
RDB, World Bank discuss $100-million agricultural diversification plan
Illegal fishing cases see decline
New hybrid corn seed to be ready for use next year
Cashew season ends with slight increase in yields
Commerce Ministry intervenes to stop fall in rice price

Indonesia
Over 3,000 Indonesian families receive Qatar Charity’s food aid
Indonesia revises requirements on horti import permits
Indonesia’s rate hikes not helping rupiah, coconuts
Jakarta Restaurants to be Inspected Ahead of the Asian Games
KAN to facilitate halal products export to UAE
Saudi Arabia to send sacrificial meat to Indonesia
How the World Cup made eggs more expensive in Indonesia
Malaysia, Indonesia team up to guard palm oil sector
World Bank to fund Accelerate Agrarian Reform project in Indonesia
BRI Agro seeks to double financing in plantation holding company

Malaysia
Durian crisis in Malaysia: Prices for the fruit fall as low as to RM1

Myanmar
Myanmar farmers are still waiting for their confiscated land and justice
Premium Distribution acquires majority stake in organic vegetable producer
Shan, Mandalay to scale up coffee exports
Myanmar’s food sector being transformed by investment in production and sustainability measures
Agri-sector to receive boost
Edible crops not allowed to be genetically modified
Projects being drawn to establish agri-zones in Mandalay, Nay Pyi Taw
Govt calls for private sector invest-ments to manage food safety issues

Philippines
Typhoons leave P1.8 billion damage to agriculture
Philippines wants expansion of Region 8's sweet jack fruit
Losses to farmers, fishers from 3 storms near P1.8B
DoF pushes for improved PH fish output
Coconut industry pushes 5% biodiesel blend
P8-billion revenue losses seen from banana exports to South Korea
Banana growers, exporters urge government to expedite FTA with Seoul
Farm damage from 2 storms hit P565M
Agriculture group says rice tariffication law will increase rice prices
Tax reform, rice tariffs top 15 Sona priorities
PHL imports more fertilizers amid dip in local production
Rice tariffication, ‘BBB’ to ease burden on poor, Palace says
Mapping technology being touted to develop mussel farming industry
Increased fish production pushed via rigorous R&D
SSI bringing in Shake Shack
COA flags Philippine Coconut Authority for overpriced corn, other irregularities
Rice stakeholders nix 40% bound tariff, pitch 180%
Rice tariff bill slated for second-reading approval

Singapore
US start-up enters Singapore’s food-on-demand market with S$1 hawker, S$6.99 restaurant meals
Wholegrain options? Plenty of work ahead for HPB to get hawkers on board
High-flying ex-Dty Police Commissioner to head new food agency despite being “motivated” at SPF
New stat board to oversee food safety and security; AVA to be disbanded

Thailand
Three-month coconut import ban proposed in Thailand
Thai FDA inspects vegetables for consumers' safety
Agriculture Min revising off-season farming strategy
HHK RDSC hikes crop yields with Innovative Adapted Rice Ratooning Technique
China to fatten Thai tuna glut on back of trade war
Thai giant holds off on one pig project, develops another
The need to look good in Thailand: PepsiCo says healthier snacks growing at a faster rate
Cabinet approves new debt aid for farmers
Government cooks up plan for Northeast food production
Isan food hub aimed to innovate farms
Rice relief gets cabinet go-ahead
Drugs in chicken breasts
PWO to take rice scheme deals to court

Vietnam
Australia’s GREAT project improves women’s lives in northwest VN
Capital city to install 1,000 vending machines by 2020
Catfish exporters need to diversify
Vietnam imports 60 percent of potatoes for processing
Vietnam looks to import beef, corn, soy from Brazil
Summer-autumn rice harvest excellent in southern region
A bank collects soil deposits in southern Vietnam
Eco-shrimp farming – model for sustainable aquaculture development
Gas-power-fertiliser complex – major contributor to Ca Mau province
Manila Water eyeing more projects in Vietnam, Indonesia
Vietnam may earn 4.7 billion USD from fruit, veggie exports in 2018
Rice export sees huge opportunities from traditional markets
 
ARTICLE CLIPS
 
 
Cambodia

Pepper group says Kampot yields will be down 26% Phnom Penh Post 30th Jul 2018
The yield for Kampot pepper – the Kingdom’s only product with an official geographic indication (GI) – is expected to decline by nearly 30 percent this year due to climate factors, Kampot Pepper Promotion Association (KPPA) president Ngoun Lay said. However, he said export supplies to international markets would remain steady. Lay said the shortage was due to overly dry weather at the beginning of the year when the peppercorns were growing, and excessive rains during the months when the drying process was underway.

Advancing the local agriculture sector Khmer Times 30th Jul 2018
Dr Kim Yong Hwan is the director of the Korea Programme on International Agriculture (Kopia), a project that has enabled the development of Cambodia’s first hybrid silkworm and maize varieties. Khmer Times’ Sok Chan sits down with him to discuss the programme’s milestones in the Kingdom since it was set up in 2010, as well as their plans for the future. KT: Can you tell me more about Kopia, and its role in supporting the development of Cambodia’s agriculture sector? Dr Kim: Kopia set up a branch in Cambodia in 2010. We are implementing various agricultural technology projects for cooperatives with the help of partner institutions. The goal is to develop customised agricultural technology in each partner country. We are also focusing on the human capital and capacity building. For example, we have sent more than 150 Cambodian farmers to Korea for agriculture training, and in September we are going to send 10 more.

Salt body to import 30k tonnes from Thailand, China Phnom Penh Post 30th Jul 2018
The Kingdom will import 30,000 tonnes of salt to meet domestic demand as stockpiles are expected to empty by November, a leader from the Salt Producers Community of Kampot-Kep said. Citing the impact heavy rains have had on the industry, co-executive director of the body, Bun Bariang, told The Post on Thursday that community leaders prepared last week to bring in salt from Thailand and China. He said the 30,000 tonnes would account for roughly a third of the country’s annual demand of around 100,000 tonnes.

Corn harvest begins in northeast amid price dip Phnom Penh Post 30th Jul 2018
Corn harvest season has begun in the Kingdom, but farmers in the northwest are facing a price decline, and hinting they may seek markets in neighbouring Thailand for their crops. Prior to the harvest, provincial authorities reported corn prices at around 630 riel per kilogram ($0.16). However, late last week prices fell to 460 riel. It is yet to be seen what restrictions Thai authorities will put on Cambodian farmers wanting to sell there.

Food safety programme gets 5-year extension Khmer Times 25th Jul 2018
A food safety programme implemented by the Mekong Institute in Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam (CLMV) has been extended until 2022. The Promoting Safe Food for Everyone (Prosafe) project is now entering its second phase, which will focus on increasing the safety of food in the region through a “coordinated approach to knowledge and skills development,” according to the Mekong Institute, who will be receiving the support of the New Zealand Aid Programme.

RDB, World Bank discuss $100-million agricultural diversification plan Khmer Times 25th Jul 2018
The Rural Development Bank (RDB) yesterday said it discussed with the World Bank the implementation of a $100-million, country-wide agricultural diversification programme designed to help boost the production capacity of local farmers. RDB director-general Kao Thach said the main focus of this new project is to consolidate the agricultural sector with assistance to small farmers in non-rice crop production.

Illegal fishing cases see decline Khmer Times 24th Jul 2018
Illegal fishing cases slumped by about 12 percent in the first half of this year compared with the same period last year, the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries said in a report released yesterday. There were 1,447 cases of illegal fishing in the six months, down by 206 cases on last year. Of the 1,447 cases, 1,369 were in fresh water and 78 in the sea. In the crackdowns, hundreds of kilometres of fishing nets of various types and 244 electric shock fishing devices were seized and 19,999 kilos of fish were released.

New hybrid corn seed to be ready for use next year Khmer Times 23rd Jul 2018
After four years of research, Cambodian scientists have created the country’s first variety of hybrid corn, with hopes running high it will boost food security and help reduce the country’s reliance on agricultural imports. The development of the new corn seed, which has been dubbed ‘BNT-5666’, is an initiative of the General Directorate of Agriculture in cooperation with the Korea Programme on International Agriculture (Kopia). The project, which began in 2014, has produced a type of maize that developers claim is cheaper and has higher yields than imported varieties.

Cashew season ends with slight increase in yields Khmer Times 19th Jul 2018
The Sambo Prei Kuk Cashew Nut Association said 8,000 tonnes of cashews were harvested this season, with the price hovering between $1.5 to $2 per kilogram for fresh cashew nuts, and $15 per kilo for processed cashews. Oum Uon, president of the association in Kampong Thom province, told Khmer Times the harvest season for the commodity began in early March and ran until the end of May. The highest yields were recorded between mid-March and mid-April, he said.

Commerce Ministry intervenes to stop fall in rice price Khmer Times 19th Jul 2018
According to the Ministry of Commerce, the price of white rice has fallen by 15 percent. The Ministry of Commerce is taking action to stop a drop in the price of white rice. Following reports of a fast decline in the price of the commodity, the Ministry of Commerce started working with local authorities to gather information in major rice-producing areas, including Battambang, Kampong Thom, Kampong Cham, Prey Veng and Takeo.

Indonesia

Over 3,000 Indonesian families receive Qatar Charity’s food aid The Peninsula Qatar 30th Jul 2018
Qatar Charity’s (QC) office in Indonesia distributed food baskets to benefit more than 3,000 families in the city of Tangerang. The distribution was made in coordination with local authorities as part of QC’s continuous efforts to support vulnerable families and fight poverty.  The underprivileged beneficiary households were selected in 13 districts and 104 neighbourhoods in the city in coordination with social welfare departments.

Indonesia revises requirements on horti import permits Fresh News 30th Jul 2018
The Indonesian Ministry of Trade (MOT) recently issued revised requirements to obtain import permits for horticultural products. While the revisions eased some of the previous burdensome conditions, such as owning warehouse space and limiting downstream sales options, the Ministry can still potentially use other conditions to restrict imports. These conditions on import permit approvals, combined with the Ministry of Agriculture’s requirements to obtain import recommendations, mean that Indonesia’s overall horticultural import licensing regime can still be used to control the quantity and timing of horticultural product imports.

Indonesia’s rate hikes not helping rupiah, coconuts Business World 30th Jul 2018
IN INDONESIA, a nation of about 17,000 islands, it’s getting tough to even make a few bucks from a coconut these days. Surging interest rates and a deepening currency rout have dealt a double blow to PT Niramas Utama, which makes food products from the tropical fruit. The company is finding it more expensive to import necessary inputs while the central bank’s steep tightening means expansion plans may be shelved.

Jakarta Restaurants to be Inspected Ahead of the Asian Games Indonesia Expat 24th Jul 2018
The Jakarta administration is set to inspect restaurants to ensure their safety ahead of the Asian Games. Jakarta Deputy Governor Sandiaga Uno said the city would work with the Indonesian Asian Games Organizing Committee (Inasgoc) and the Jakarta Food and Drug Monitoring Agency (Jakarta BPOM) to implement the measure across the city. “We’re committed to ensuring food quality. We aim to introduce Indonesian cuisine to the world, hence we’re attempting to give the best food experience to foreigners [visiting for the Asian Games],” he said on Tuesday. The inspections are aimed at ensuring food sold throughout the city is healthy and processed hygienically.

KAN to facilitate halal products export to UAE - ANTARA News Antara News 23rd Jul 2018
The National Accreditation Committee (KAN) and the National Standardization Agency (BSN) have signed a cooperation with the Emirates Authority for Standardization and Metrology (ESMA) to facilitate Indonesia`s halal export to the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Under the cooperation, halal certificate, issued by KAN`s accredited certification institution, would be recognized by ESMA based on UAE`s standard.

Saudi Arabia to send sacrificial meat to Indonesia - ANTARA News Antara News 22nd Jul 2018
The Saudi Government is to send meat of 17,000 sheep collected during the 2018 hajj season to Muslims in Indonedia, General Supervisor of the Saudi Project for Utilization of Hajj Meat, Rahimi Ahmed Rahimi, has said. "Several days ago we signed a memorandum of understanding on the matter with the Indonesian Government. This is for the first time, we send meat for sacrifice to Muslims in Indonesia," Rahimi told foreign journalists who visited the office of the Mecca City Government recently.

How the World Cup made eggs more expensive in Indonesia IOL Business Report 22nd Jul 2018
The average retail price jumped 21 percent to about 29,000 rupiah ($2) per kilogram in Jakarta last week from a month earlier, according to data from the central bank-run Center for Information of Strategic Food Price. That’s the highest since at least July 2016, the earliest data compiled by the center. Average egg prices in Indonesia climbed 8 percent to 27,200 rupiah , the center’s figures show.

Malaysia, Indonesia team upto guard palm oil sector The Star Online 22nd Jul 2018
Malaysia and Indonesia have agreed to work together to promote oil palm products and counter attacks against the palm oil industry by Europe, says Malaysian Foreign Minister Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah. He said cooperation between both countries was vital to safeguard the future of the palm oil industry and smallholders, reported Bernama.

World Bank to fund Accelerate Agrarian Reform project in Indonesia | Global Edition Devdiscourse 22nd Jul 2018
Accelerate Agrarian Reform project in Indonesia will get financing support from the World Bank. The funding of US$ 240.00 million has been approved for the project in Indonesia. The objective of the Program to Accelerate Agrarian Reform (One Map Project) for Indonesia is to establish clarity on actual land rights and land use at the village level in the target areas. There are three components to the project, the first component being participatory mapping and agrarian reform.

BRI Agro seeks to double financing in plantation holding company The Jakarta Post 24th Jul 2018
Agriculture specialist lender Bank Rakyat Indonesia Agroniaga (BRI Agro) seeks to double its financing in state-owned plantation holding company PT Perkebunan Nusantara III (PTPN III), specifically in supply-chain financing.

Malaysia

Durian crisis in Malaysia: Prices for the fruit fall as low as to RM1 Investvine 21st Jul 2018
Durian prices have dropped dramatically in Malaysia due to an oversupply caused by hot weather, vendors say. Reports came in from markets in Kedah that smaller-sized durians were going for just one ringgit each, which is about $0.24. Larger and fresher durians were priced at between three and eight ringgit On a market in Penang, a durian seller was spotted selling Musang King, widely seen as the best variety of durians, at 28 ringgit per kilogramme, or $6.60. In last year’s season, one kilogramme of Musang King used to sell for 125 ringgit.

Myanmar

Myanmar farmers are still waiting for their confiscated land and justice The Myanmar Times 30th Jul 2018
The victims have been dispossessed of their livelihoods and access to healthcare, while their children are denied education and forced to work. Disputes over land remain a key challenge for the country to attract responsible investments from abroad.  The NGO launched the report “Nothing for Our Land: Impacts of Land Confiscation on Farmers in Myanmar” on July 17, based on the interviews conducted with farmers and labourers in Yangon, Ayeyarwady regions and Shan State between October 2016 and March 2017.

Premium Distribution acquires majority stake in organic vegetable producer Frontier Myanmar 30th Jul 2018
Leading food and beverage wholesaler Premium Distribution has acquired organic salad brand Uni Vege under a new joint venture with financial advisory Trust Venture Partners. Premium Distribution and TVP will acquire the hydroponic business from food tech startup Provide Advanced Technology, TVP said in a statement. Premium Distribution – which is affiliated with the country’s largest retailer, City Mart – holds a majority stake in the new joint venture, while TVP is a minority shareholder. Based in the East Dagon Industrial Zone, PAT was established by Japanese entrepreneurs and has been selling its range of pre-prepared salads at more than a dozen City Mart outlets for K2,000 to K3,000.

Shan, Mandalay to scale up coffee exports The Myanmar Times 30th Jul 2018
The target countries for export are America, Japan, Canada, Korea and Australia with one tonne of coffee beans, depending on the quality, fetching a minimum of US$4,500 to maximum of more than $6,000. “This export amount is only from Ywar Ngan and Pyin Oo Lwin townships. There are also other exports too. Coffee beans produced in Than Taung Gyi are exported to China. There is also another additional 100 tonnes of coffee to be exported,” said U Min Hlaing. Myanmar coffee has good potential and current prices can be regarded as good prices, so coffee cultivators will have to work hard to produce more. 

Myanmar’s food sector being transformed by investment in production and sustainability measures foodnavigator-asia.com 23rd Jul 2018
Tha Bar Wa, a four-year project, is being implemented by the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), in partnership with the Myanmar Food Processors and Exporters Association (MFPEA) and Savings Banks Foundation for International Cooperation (SBFIC). The initiative is funded by the European Union (EU) under the SWITCH-Asia Programme, which supports initiatives for sustainable consumption and production across Asia-Pacific, especially for SMEs.

Agri-sector to receive boost The Myanmar Times 26th Jul 2018
The strategy covers productivity, competitiveness and governance. Annual budget allocations are K490 billion in 2018-19, K580 billion in 2019-20, K670 billion in 2020-21, K700 in 2021-22 and K680 billion in 2022-23. 52.7pc will be used for productivity, covering projects for irrigation, water resources, research, education, crop cultivation, livestock and fisheries, resilience to climate change. 33pc will be used for improving competitiveness, such as rural infrastructure, community development, value chain development and food safety. For good governance, 10.6pc of total investment will be allocated. Governance will cover planning, coordination, communication and policy making.

Edible crops not allowed to be genetically modified The Myanmar Times 26th Jul 2018
Currently, the National Seeds Committee which is chaired by deputy minister U HlaKyaw holds monthly meetings for issuing certificates to newly modified seeds. “We have examined crops to see if they are genetically modified or not. At present, edible crops haven’t been allowed for genetic modification,” Dr Ye Tint Tun said on July 18.

Projects being drawn to establish agri-zones in Mandalay, Nay Pyi Taw | Eleven Myanmar Eleven Myanmar 20th Jul 2018
Projects are being drawn to establish agricultural zones in Mandalay and Nay Pyi Taw in order to manufacture agro-based products and finished goods, according to the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Irrigation. In Myanmar's agricultural development strategy and investment programme, the ministry has pledged to establish such agricultural zones in the agricultural assistance plan stage (2) of Greater Mekong Sub-region (GMS).

Govt calls for private sector invest-ments to manage food safety issues The Myanmar Times 19th Jul 2018
“There is a role for the private sector in encouraging the supply and usage of safe quantities of inputs pesticides and veterinary drugs, raising awareness and providing education and training for farmers and enterprises along the food supply chain,” he said.

Philippines

Typhoons leave P1.8 billion damage to agriculture philstar.com 30th Jul 2018
Damage to agriculture in areas hit by recent typhoons climbed to P1.8 billion with the crop industry having the largest amount of losses, the Department of Agriculture (DA) said over the weekend. A report from the DA-disaster risk reduction and management operation center showed that typhoons Henry, Inday and Josie left P1.79 billion worth of damage to rice, high-value crops, livestock and fisheries. Among the crops, rice incurred the largest amount of losses at P1.41 billion, covering 97,016 hectares or about 20,242 metric tons (MT).

Philippines wants expansion of Region 8's sweet jack fruit Fresh Plaza 30th Jul 2018
The Philippines’ Department of Agriculture is aiming to triple the area planted with sweet variety of jackfruit in the eastern Visayas region by 2022. From the current 1,258 hectares planted with this jackfruit variety, the target is to expand the cultivated area to 4,409 hectares within the next four years. Dubbed as the Eastern Visayas Integrated Agricultural Research Center (EVIARC) sweet variety, the fruit has special features such as natural sweetness, thickness of the yellow fruitlet and elliptical shape, said Dept of Agriculture regional field operations division chief Francisco Dayap on Monday.

Losses to farmers, fishers from 3 storms near P1.8B BusinessMirror 29th Jul 2018
LOSSES incurred by farmers and fishermen in at least seven regions battered by two tropical storms and a depression are nearing P1.8 billion, according to the initial report of the Department of Agriculture (DA). In its latest report, the DA-Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Operations Center (DA-DRRM OpCen) said the total damage to the farm sector caused by Tropical Storm Henry, Severe Tropical Storm Inday and Tropical Depression Josie rose to P1.79 billion. The regions affected by the three weather disturbances are: Cordillera Administrative Region, Regions 1, 2, 3, 4A, 4B and 6.

DoF pushes for improved PH fish output The Manila Times Online 27th Jul 2018
THE Department of Finance (DoF) is pushing for technological advancements and a comprehensive seafarming program to bolster the Philippines’ fish yield. In an economic bulletin on Thursday, the DoF said “aquaculture produces more than half of total fish supply in the economy,” but noted that growth has been declining since 2011. According to the Finance department, the value fishing added to the country’s gross domestic product continued to register negative growth, dropping by 4 percent in 2016 and 0.9 percent in 2017.

Coconut industry pushes 5% biodiesel blend The Manila Times Online 27th Jul 2018
Coconut farmers and oil manufacturers reiterated on Wednesday the need for the immediate implementation of Biofuels Act of 2006 mandating that all diesel fuels sold in the domestic market be blended with 5-percent Coco Methyl Ester (CME) to stabilize domestic copra prices. In a resolution dated July 19, 2018, coconut stakeholders said production of the 5-percent biodiesel blend (B5) can help address the problem of plummeting copra prices. Biodiesel is a blend of diesel fuel and coconut methyl ester, a derivative of coconut oil.

P8-billion revenue losses seen from banana exports to South Korea philstar.com 26th Jul 2018
The Philippines stands to lose about P8 billion in revenues from bananas if the government fails to scrap the 30 percent levy on the commodity. The Pilipino Banana Growers and Exporters Association (PBGEA) warned that the country may lose South Korea as a top export destination if the government will not push for a bilateral agreement removing the 30-percent levy.

Banana growers, exporters urge government to expedite FTA with Seoul BusinessMirror 25th Jul 2018
Manila should expedite the forging of a free-trade agreement (FTA) with Seoul that would allow Philippine banana exports to enter South Korea at lower tariffs, and ensure that the country would not lose the East Asian market against South American competitors. The Pilipino Banana Growers and Exporters Association (PBGEA) issued the statement after South Korea signed an FTA that allows five Central American nations to export bananas to Seoul at lower tariffs.

Farm damage from 2 storms hit P565M The Manila Times Online 24th Jul 2018
The two tropical storms that soaked Metro Manila and the rest of Luzon damaged P565 million worth of crops, the Department of Agriculture (DA) said on Monday. The DA’s Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council (DRRMC) said the rice sector incurred the heaviest damage at P428 million, followed by the fisheries sector, P136 million. Tropical storm “Henry” and severe tropical storm “Inday” also destroyed P1 million worth of corn crops.

Agriculture group says rice tariffication law will increase rice prices ABS-CBN News 24th Jul 2018
In his third State of the Nation Address, President Rodrigo Duterte issued a warning against unscrupulous businessmen who manipulate rice prices. An agriculture group said the government should apprehend these erring businessmen.

Tax reform, rice tariffs top 15 Sona priorities BusinessMirror 23rd Jul 2018
DESPITE being made to wait for more than an hour as a power struggle played out in the House of Representatives, President Duterte injected a sense of urgency in the priorities that he outlined in his third State of the Nation Address (Sona) on Monday, topping his pitch to Congress with mostly economic measures. Among the 15 priority legislative measures which he laid out in his 48-minute speech, the President stressed the urgent passage of: rice tariffication, the second package of tax reform law, lowering interconnection rates between telecommunications industry players, universal health care, end of contractualization, and environment protection. The President announced he has certified as urgent the rice tariffication bill, which seeks to convert rice import caps into tariffs. It has gained urgency in recent weeks as government and affected sectors grappled with inflation, partly fueled by spikes in rice prices in the market as a result of supply problems.

PHL imports more fertilizers amid dip in local production BusinessMirror 23rd Jul 2018
PHILIPPINE fertilizer imports this year could rise by at least 8.33 percent to 2.6 million metric tons, from last year’s 2.435 MMT, according to the Fertilizer and Pesticide Authority (FPA). The FPA noted that the output of local manufacturers could no longer meet the increasing demand of farmers for fertilizer. Farmers use fertilizer to hike crop yields. “Imports would be higher this year compared to last year as local production continues to decline,” FPA Executive Director Wilfredo C. Roldan told the BusinessMirror in a recent interview.

Rice tariffication, ‘BBB’ to ease burden on poor, Palace says BusinessMirror 23rd Jul 2018
Malacañang said the government is rolling out long-term solutions, such as the conversion of rice import caps into tariffs and the “Build, Build, Build” (BBB) program, to help the poor. Presidential Spokesman Harry L. Roque Jr. made the pronouncement on Sunday following the release of the results of a Social Weather Stations’s (SWS) survey which showed that more Filipino families considered themselves poor and food-poor. “We are putting in place long-term solutions to significantly reduce inflation and help poor Filipino families, such as pushing for rice tariffication as rice accounts for around 20 percent of the total consumption of the poor,” Roque said in a statement.

Mapping technology being touted to develop mussel farming industry Business World 23rd Jul 2018
THE Department of Science and Technology (DoST) and the University of the Philippines (UP) are seeking to develop the mussel farming industry using geolocation technology. In a statement by Philippine Council for Agriculture, Aquatic and Natural Resources Research and Development (DoST-PCAARRD), its Industry Strategic Science and Technology program hopes to use geographic information system (GIS)-based mapping to identify suitable sites for mussel culture. “The advent of recent geospatial technologies such as GIS and remote sensing can provide quick and reliable information that can be displayed visually for better management of aquaculture areas,” DoST- PCAARRD said.

Increased fish production pushed via rigorous R&D Manila Bulletin News 22nd Jul 2018
The Southeast Asian Fisheries Development Center/Aquaculture Department (AQD) (SEAFDEC/AQD) based in southern Iloilo is pushing for the increase of the country’s fishery production through rigorous research and development (R&D) programs. “It (R&D) is instrumental in achieving a common goal: increase fish production,” said SEAFDEC/AQD chief Dan Baliao during the recent 45th anniversary celebrations of its headquarters in Tigbauan town.

SSI bringing in Shake Shack Inquirer 19th Jul 2018
Specialty retailer SSI Group Inc. is bringing New York’s iconic restaurant chain Shake Shack to the Philippines, increasing its portfolio diversification from fashion houses to food and beverage (F&B) operations. For “roadside” chain Shake Shack, the opening of the first site in Metro Manila by spring of 2019 will mark its debut in Southeast Asia. In a disclosure to the Philippine Stock Exchange yesterday, SSI said it had signed a development and license agreement with New York Stock Exchange-listed Shake Shack Inc. to set up shop in the country.

COA flags Philippine Coconut Authority for overpriced corn, other irregularities ABS-CBN News 19th Jul 2018
The Commission on Audit has questioned the purchases of the Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA) regional offices, saying these were overpriced by over a million. Regional offices purchased corn seeds which were supposedly overpriced by P1.073 million, government auditors said in its 2017 audit report on the PCA. It said the purchase of Regions I-IV of 3,000 kilos of glutinous corn seeds and 1,428 kilos of yellow hybrid corn, with a total amount of P1.660 million was “disadvantageous to the government.”

Rice stakeholders nix 40% bound tariff, pitch 180% BusinessMirror 31st Jul 2018
RICE industry stakeholders are pushing for a 180-percent bound tariff on rice imports once the quantitative restriction (QR) on the staple is scrapped, in order to give the government enough elbow room to impose duties that would protect farmers vulnerable from “cheap” foreign rice. In a position paper, representatives of farmer organizations and cause-oriented groups said they “firmly believe” that Manila must aim for the maximum allowable bound tariff rate it could impose, as stipulated by agreements under the World Trade Organization (WTO).

Rice tariff bill slated for second-reading approval BusinessMirror 31st Jul 2018
THE Duterte administration’s rice tariffication bill is now moving closer to getting approval at the House of Representatives. This, after House Committee on Agriculture Chairman Jose T. Panganiban Jr. of Anac-IP delivered his sponsorship speech on Tuesday and called for the immediate passage of House Bill 7735,  or the proposed “Revised Agricultural Tariffication Act.” Government officials earlier disclosed that they are eyeing to present the rice tariffication law to the World Trade Organization in September. “We will approve this tomorrow [Wednesday] on second reading. . . We can no longer postpone [the passage of] the rice tariffication bill,” Panganiban told the  BusinessMirror.

Singapore

US start-up enters Singapore’s food-on-demand market with S$1 hawker, S$6.99 restaurant meals TODAYonline 30th Jul 2018
A food subscription start-up from the United States offering S$1 hawker fare and restaurant meals from S$6.99 is hoping to shake up Singapore's crowded food-on-demand market. Unlike the likes of Deliveroo, FoodPanda, Fastbee or Plum, the new player MealPal, which started its service on Monday (July 16), does not deliver. And instead of unlimited choice, its 250 participating food and beverage outlets — such as The Soup Spoon, Teppei Syokudo, Grain and Tuk Tuk Cha — offer only one dish daily.

Wholegrain options? Plenty of work ahead for HPB to get hawkers on board Channel NewsAsia 30th Jul 2018
It's a late Friday morning and there is a lull in business at the Tiong Bahru Food Centre. The breakfast crowd is thinning, and the hordes of office workers that usually throng the hawker centre for lunch have yet to stream in. It is the best time for Health Promotion Board (HPB) officer Tan Meiying to make her approach. As she wends her way through the food centre, she waves at the hawkers. Some return the greeting with a friendly smile and wave.

High-flying ex-Dty Police Commissioner to head new food agency despite being “motivated” at SPF The Online Citizen 26th Jul 2018
The government announced on Thursday (26 Jul) that a new statutory board called the Singapore Food Agency (SFA) will be formed in April next year under the Ministry of Environment and Water Resources (MEWR) to oversee food safety and security. The agency will bring together all the food-related functions currently carried out by the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority of Singapore (AVA), the National Environment Agency (NEA) and the Health Sciences Authority (HSA) under one agency.

New stat board to oversee food safety and security; AVA to be disbanded Channel NewsAsia 26th Jul 2018
SINGAPORE:  A new statutory board, to be called the Singapore Food Agency (SFA), will be formed in April next year under the Ministry of Environment and Water Resources (MEWR) to oversee food safety and security, it was announced on Thursday (26 Jul). The agency will bring together food-related functions currently carried out by three other agencies - the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority of Singapore (AVA), the National Environment Agency (NEA) and the Health Sciences Authority (HSA), said MEWR and the Ministry of National Development (MND) in a joint news release. Formed in response to challenges posed by the global food landscape and climate change, SFA will manage food safety, hygiene regulations and address issues of food supply.

New stat board Singapore Food Agency coming in April 2019; AVA will cease to exist The Business Times 26th Jul 2018
A NEW government agency will be formed on April 1 next year to oversee food safety and security, Singapore authorities announced on Thursday morning. The Singapore Food Agency (SFA), a statutory board, will come under the Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources (Mewr) and will be taking over food-related work currently being done by the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority of Singapore (AVA), the National Environment Agency (NEA) and the Health Sciences Authority (HSA). The AVA will cease to exist from next April and its animal-related functions, such as animal welfare, will be transferred to the National Parks Board (NParks) under the Ministry of National Development (MND).

New stat board Singapore Food Agency to be formed in April 2019; AVA will cease to exist The Straits Times 26th Jul 2018
A new government agency will be formed on April 1 next year to oversee food safety and security, the Government announced on Thursday morning (July 26). The Singapore Food Agency (SFA), a statutory board, will come under the Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources (Mewr) and will be taking over food-related work currently being done by the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority of Singapore (AVA), the National Environment Agency (NEA) and the Health Sciences Authority (HSA).

Thailand

Three-month coconut import ban proposed in Thailand Fresh Plaza 30th Jul 2018
Thailand is considering a three-month import ban on coconuts to shore up local prices. The  measure was approved on Tuesday, to come into effect between August and October, said Deputy Prime Minister Somkid Jatusripitak. It will be tabled for cabinet approval soon. Commerce Minister Sontirat Sontijirawong added that the measure came from discussions with all parties: "The price slump this year is the result of increased imports over the past 2-3 years following a plague. Now that the problem was addressed, the measure is necessary to keep a market balance.”

Thai FDA inspects vegetables for consumers' safety Fresh Plaza 30th Jul 2018
After a warning from the Pesticide Alert Network about excessive levels of pesticides on vegetables sold in markets, Secretary General of the FDA, dr. Wanchai Sattayawuthipong Tuesday stated that the FDA has been continuously inspecting and monitoring markets on this issue. The FDA has also strengthened preventative measures by launching two regulations to control the level of pesticides and the process of preserving fruit and vegetables.

Agriculture Min revising off-season farming strategy National News Bureau of Thailand 30th Jul 2018
The Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives is determined to reduce the area used for rice farming after the monsoon season. Deputy Prime Minister in charge of economic affairs Somkid Jatusripitak, has instructed the Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives to make adjustments to its off-season farming plan with a priority given to alternative crops. For instance, two million rai currently used for rice farming will be used to grow other economic crops such as corn and cassava given their drought tolerance capacity.

HHK RDSC hikes crop yields with Innovative Adapted Rice Ratooning Technique National News Bureau of Thailand 30th Jul 2018
The Huai Hong Krai Royal Development Study Center (HHK RDSC) has exhibited a new method of Rice Ratooning that could increase crop yields by fifty percent. Chief of Academic Affairs of HHK RDSC, Dr. Noppadon Kowsuvon has presented a report on the Innovative Adapted Rice Ratooning Technique to the media, saying that the new method has been developed at the demonstration farm run by the center. The traditional method of Ratoon Rice Lodging is unsustainable, but this approach allows farmers to select ideal seedlings from the mother crop and use them for further cultivation.

China to fatten Thai tuna glut on back of trade war Bangkok Post 24th Jul 2018
Thailand's tuna imports for raw material are expected to increase by 5% to 750,000-800,000 tonnes in 2018 as the trade war between the US and China results in greater Chinese tuna dumping in Thailand, says the Thai Tuna Industry Association (TTIA). Last year, Thailand imported 700,000 tonnes of tuna to be processed and canned. Because of the Sino-US trade war, the TTIA forecasts a lower price for tuna as the raw material cost decreases by 15-20% to US$1,000-1,500 a tonne from $2,300 (76,883 baht) last year.

Thai giant holds off on one pig project, develops another globalmeatnews.com 23rd Jul 2018
Locals are scratching their heads in Jia County near Jingdingshan, Henan province over the hold-up to a one million-head pig production project, which CP signed off on in August 2017 with the local government. A ground-breaking ceremony was held in October last year on the site of the project, but currently no works are underway, according to local media. No comment was forthcoming from CP – which operates under the Mandarin name Zheng Da in China. Under the deal, CP was to breed 600,000 head of pigs itself, with the other 400,000 produced by local villagers. A meat processing plant and feed plant were also incorporated in the project. Intriguingly, the project was also to incorporate a crocodile or alligator (the same character in Mandarin applies to both words) farm for the production of meat and hides.

The need to look good in Thailand: PepsiCo says healthier snacks growing at a faster rate navigator-asia.com 23rd Jul 2018
Sales of snacks products across all the brands has grown by 5.9% on a YoY basis in Thailand, but the growth in PepsiCo is higher than its competitors, Bhandari told FoodNavigator-Asia​ in an interview. In particular, the healthier, better-for-you products are seeing better performances. “We have experienced good growth in the Fun-for-you portfolio, but our Better-for-you portfolio is growing faster than Fun-for-you​,” he said.

Cabinet approves new debt aid for farmers Bangkok Post 1st Aug 2018
The cabinet has approved in principle the extension of debt repayment and lower lending rates for small-scale farmers as the latest move to help shore up the agricultural sector. According to Nathporn Chatusripitak, an adviser to the Prime Minister's Office minister, the measures are still needed because the agriculture sector remains saddled with a spate of problems from both volatile farm prices and periodic natural disasters.

Government cooks up plan for Northeast food production Bangkok Post 26th Jul 2018
Four provinces in the lower Northeast will be grouped to set up a new business model to develop and market organic agricultural products as part of a government plan to turn the region into a national centre for innovative food. The so-called hub, which will centre on modern techniques to process farm produce and other products including cosmetics, is being pushed amid a current trend in which more and more Thai and foreign consumers are turning to chemical-free farming produce.

Isan food hub aimed to innovate farms Bangkok Post 25th Jul 2018
The Joint Public and Private Sector Consultative Committee (JPPSCC) has agreed to set up an innovative food processing hub in Ubon Ratchathani in a bid to push forward a pilot plant for the local agricultural sector in the lower Northeast. The mobile cabinet meeting chaired by Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha began yesterday at Ubon Ratchathani University to acknowledge the project, which is expected to increase household incomes and add value to local farm products.

Rice relief gets cabinet go-ahead Bangkok Post 25th Jul 2018
The cabinet on Tuesday approved rice aid measures worth a combined 97.95 billion baht for the 2018-19 crop year. The measures include a loan scheme worth 35.06 billion baht to be offered by the state-owned Bank for Agriculture and Agricultural Co-operatives (BAAC) and 62.89 billion baht of one-off payments that the government will hand out directly to farmers via the BAAC.

Drugs in chicken breasts Bangkok Post 20th Jul 2018
Some 26 of 62 poultry samples taken from Bangkok markets and stores have tested positive for two antibiotics, according to a survey by the Foundation for Consumers (FFC). The samples -- 32 chicken breasts and 30 livers -- were collected from supermarkets in shopping malls and local fresh markets across Bangkok and its surrounding area from June 9-15. "Antibiotics are increasingly being prescribed to treat diseases so we have had a chance to absorb these drugs and even risk ingesting dangerous doses if we consume food that has been contaminated with them, too," Niyada Kiatying-Angsulee, director of the Drug System Monitoring & Development Centre, said Thursday.

PWO to take rice scheme deals to court Bangkok Post 19th Jul 2018
The Public Warehouse Organisation (PWO) is to file by the end of September a number of cases with the Administrative Court that involve 244 contracts signed between the PWO and other parties connected to the rice-pledging scandal. The move was confirmed by PWO chairman Kraiboon Suadsong on Tuesday in response to a remark by Deputy Prime Minister Wissanu Krea-ngam, who said he wanted the PWO to finish filing all civil cases related to the scandal by the end of the year.

Vietnam

Australia’s GREAT project improves women’s lives in northwest VN vietnamnews.vn 25th Jul 2018
The Australian Government yesterday (July 24) kicked off its Gender Responsive Equitable Agriculture and Tourism (GREAT) programme in northwest Việt Nam to create jobs and improve incomes for local women. The AUD33.7 million (US$24.9 million) programme, which began last year and will end in 2021, will empower local women to engage in agriculture and tourism markets, and enhance women’s voices in economic decision-making.

Capital city to install 1,000 vending machines by 2020 vietnamnews.vn 25th Jul 2018
The capital city plans to install 1,000 vending machines by 2020 to make shopping more convenient for local consumers as well as foreign tourists. The machines will be located mostly at hospitals, schools, bus stations, depots, passenger waiting rooms, historic and cultural sites, tourist attractions and parks, according to a decision on developing an automated vending machine network, issued recently by the municipal People’s Committee.

Catfish exporters need to diversify vietnamnews.vn 25th Jul 2018
Việt Nam’s catfish exports have been robust this year but the country’s overwhelming dependence on the increasingly competitive Chinese market remains a matter of risk. In the first half of the year catfish exports increased by 21 per cent year-on-year to US$1 billion, with China accounting for a full one fourth.

Vietnam imports 60 percent of potatoes for processing Fresh Plaza 25th Jul 2018
Vietnam’s factories need some 180,000 tons of potatoes for processing a year, but domestic production currently meets only 40 percent of that demand, says the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development. According to the ministry, despite increasing demand, the total potato planting area is decreasing dramatically. Last year, the country’s potato area was 19,700 hectares, equivalent to one-fifth of the area at the peak time, turning out an output of 313,000 tons.

Vietnam looks to import beef, corn, soy from Brazil UkrAgroConsult 25th Jul 2018
Vietnam could become the leading importer of corn and soybeans of Brazil and will consider importing beef as well. Brazil in turn will also boost imports of Vietnamese coffee, pangasius and shrimp. This information was shared at the meeting between Vietnamese Deputy Prime Minister Vuong Dinh Hue and Brazilian President Michel Temer in Sao Paulo City last week. Due to Brazil’s scandal on quality control last year, 20 countries including Vietnam stopped importing Brazilian beef. Many countries have resumed after receiving written explanations and pledges from the Brazilian government. Deputy Prime Minister Vuong Dinh Hue emphasized that Vietnam could be the gateway for Brazil into Asean. Similarly, Brazil will be the bridge for Vietnam’s goods into the South American market.

Summer-autumn rice harvest excellent in southern region vietnamnews.vn 24th Jul 2018
The summer-autumn rice harvest in the southern region has been good and prices of the grain are high, according to provincial departments of agriculture and rural development. The region has harvested about a third of its 1.69 million hectares with an average yield of 5.65 tonnes per hectare, up 200kg compared to last year’s summer – autumn crop.

A bank collects soil deposits in southern Vietnam VnExpress International – Latest news, business, travel and analysis from Vietnam 23rd Jul 2018
The bank in the province’s Cai Nuoc District collects dirt and mud from the bottom of shrimp ponds. This can then be used to refill land at construction sites, said To Ngoc Nam, deputy director of the provincial Agricultural Department. The soil bank project has received World Bank funding of VND20 billion ($892,000). Sand supply in the province has been running low and become very expensive. According to the Ministry of Construction, authorized sand exploitation only meets 45 percent of domestic demand. Prices of construction sand have rocketed by 200-300 percent since last year, and show no signs of easing.

Eco-shrimp farming – model for sustainable aquaculture development vietnamplus.vn 23rd Jul 2018
Eco-shrimp farming, which has been spreading in the Mekong Delta localities in recent years, is touted as a model for sustainable aquaculture development thanks to its strengths in environmental protection, low costs, and high profit. Eco farming refers to the practice of raising shrimps in rice fields or mangrove forests at low density. Compared to industrial shrimp cultivation, farmers do not have to pay that much on feeds, waste water treatment system, and medicine to treat diseases. Eco farming also requires less labour.

Gas-power-fertiliser complex – major contributor to Ca Mau province vietnamplus.vn 23rd Jul 2018
More than 2 trillion VND (86.2 million USD), or 40-50 percent of the budget of the southernmost province of Ca Mau, is contributed by the Ca Mau Gas-Power-Fertiliser Complex each year, a recent meeting heard. The Ca Mau Gas-Power-Fertiliser Complex, inaugurated in October 2012, is jointly operated by the PetroVietnam Gas JSC (PV Gas), the PetroVietnam Power Corporation, and the PetroVietnam Ca Mau Fertiliser JSC. It is comprised of three projects covering more than 200ha in the Khanh An commune of U Minh district.

Manila Water eyeing more projects in Vietnam, Indonesia Business Inquirer 23rd Jul 2018
Ayala-led Manila Water Co. (MWC) is scouting for new bulk water projects in Indonesia and Vietnam, in line with plans to expand its footprint across Southeast Asia and grow its overseas business to account for 10 percent of total business. In an interview on Friday, MWC president Ferdinand dela Cruz said they were looking at new bulk water projects outside Vietnam’s Ho Chi Minh City. MWC’s offshore expansion gained ground in Ho Chi Minh and over the years, it became a leading foreign investor in Vietnam’s water space with over $120 million so far invested in this market.

Vietnam may earn 4.7 billion USD from fruit, veggie exports in 2018 vietnamplus.vn 22nd Jul 2018
Fruits and vegetables may earn the country 4.7 billion USD this year, according to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development. The Ministry said it will continue encouraging farmers across the country to replace rice in areas producing low output with other crops of higher economic value such as fruit trees, vegetables or flowers. 

Rice export sees huge opportunities from traditional markets vietnamplus.vn 19th Jul 2018
Vietnam’s rice export has posted remarkable figures in the first half of 2018, and the sector expects business to get better in the remaining months of the year as the country’s traditional rice markets are increasing import. The latest statistics from the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT) show that Vietnam exported 3.6 million tonnes of rice, earning 1.83 billion USD in the year’s two first quarters, up 26.2 percent in volume and 44.3 percent in value year-on-year.