Food & Agriculture Update: December 12, 2018

Food & Agriculture Update | December 12, 2018
Authors: Sunita Kapoor, Daine Loh
 
LOOKING AHEAD
 
 

ASEAN Safe, Nutritious Food Workshop in Hanoi, Vietnam

Across the food value chain in ASEAN, there is a growing public discussion around ensuring that the food that we eat is both safe and nutritious. From farm to fork, these two most fundamental qualities and dietary descriptors of our food supply are becoming increasingly intertwined. The US-ASEAN Business Council, CropLife Asia, and the EU-ASEAN Business Council seeking to partner with food value chain stakeholders regionally and internationally to conduct public events in Bangkok and Hanoi in Q1 2019 to discuss this, highlight efforts underway to address the dilemma, and share perspectives on how stakeholders can work together to yield more sustainable progress in this area going forward. The first of such initiative will be an “ASEAN Safe, Nutritious Food” workshop in Hanoi, Vietnam in Q1 2019. The Council is working on a finalized agenda and will keep Food and Agriculture Committee members updated. For any questions, inputs or comments, please contact Sunita Kapoor at skapoor@usasean.org.
 
 
THE COUNCIL'S TAKE
 
 

Singapore consults public on Possible Measures for Pre-Packaged Sugar-Sweetened Beverages

The Ministry of Health and Health Promotion Board of Singapore are contemplating a range of efforts to cut the population’s sugar intake in order to reduce rate of obesity and diabetes. Diabetes has been flagged as one of the key long-term issues for Singapore by Prime Minister Lee in a National Day Rally in 2017. According to him, 1 in 9 Singaporeans have diabetes, and costs the country more than $1 billion a year today. The Ministry is seeking public consultations on four proposed non-exclusionary measures: (i) mandatory front-of-pack nutritional label; (ii) stricter advertising regulations; (iii) excise duty on manufacturers and importers; and/or (iv) nation-wide ban on sale of higher-sugar pre-packaged drinks.

Many experts believe that a total ban on higher-sugared drinks would be the most effective policy, but would also be politically unpopular. At present, drinks with more than 3 tsps of sugar (12g) cannot be sold in schools and other government premises. Major manufacturers have also pledged to remove drinks with more than 6 tsps (24g) of sugar. Seven industry leaders - Coca-Cola, F&N Foods, Malaysia Dairy Industries, Nestle, PepsiCo, Pokka and Yeo Hiap Seng – have also committed to a maximum sugar content of 12% for all of their drinks sold in Singapore by 2020.

The use of a sugar tax has been an ongoing debate in the Singapore parliament since 2016. Critics have claimed that it is unfair to single out sugar when other factors such as fat consumption, low activity levels and even genetics all contribute to obesity and related diseases like diabetes. 39 countries, states and cities around the world today have already introduced some form of nutritional taxation, with sugar-sweetened beverages being the primary target. This includes neighbouring states in the region such as Brunei, Cambodia, Laos, Philippines and Thailand.

The public consultation paper may be accessed here. For any comments or feedback on the possible measures, please submit your inputs to Sunita Kapoor at skapoor@usasean.org by COB January 9, 2019. A consolidated draft will be circulated for review before final submission to the relevant agencies.

Malaysia bets on durian as demand from China rises

Malaysia foresees a 50% rise in durian exports by 2030, as the country rushes to develop thousands of acres and large-scale durian farming to cash in on the unprecedented demand from China. According to the United Nations’ trade database, China’s durian imports rose 15% in 2017 to nearly 350,000 tonnes worth US$510 million. At present, the bulk of these durian imports are from Thailand. However, Malaysia expects its exports to secure a greater market share in the near future as trade restrictions on the fruit are loosened following a new export deal for frozen durians. The Malaysian government is also seeking to secure market access for their durian exports to china in whole-fruit form amid soaring demand, with hopes that exports of fresh Musang King will be approved by 2019. According to Malaysia’s agricultural ministry, one hectare of Musang King durian can yield nearly nine times more revenue than a hectare of palm oil plantation and have encouraged local producers to capitalize on the opportunity. The main challenge for Malaysia is to remain competitive vis-à-vis Thailand as a frozen whole Musang King durian weighing about 1.5kg costs up to US$150 while a Thai durian costs only US$45 in comparison. Further, onerous Chinese regulations and language barriers remain as obstacles that local businesses will need to overcome.

Thai rubber farms crisis

Thailand accounts for a third of the rubber exports in the world, producing about 4.6 million tonnes every year. However, Thai rubber farmers are feeling the bite as prices have been falling significantly over the last few years, to nearly five times below the levels in 2011. The Thai government foresees a longer term global oversupply crisis due to the maturing large expansions of rubber planting areas in neighbouring states such as Myanmar, Laos and Cambodia, coupled with lower demand from factories in China. The recent US-China trade war has further aggravated the problem as US tariffs on nearly half of all Chinese imports and the depreciation of the Chinese yuan against the US dollar have caused a sudden large decline in Chinese demand for rubber imports, which makes up more than half of Thailand’s latex exports. Since June 2018, rubber prices have dipped 20% and many workers were forced to abandon their plantation jobs for factory work. According to tyre giant Michelin’s regional head, the changing rubber prices will impact farmers, processors, manufacturers and consumers.

The government's approach to addressing this issue includes reducing the total area under cultivation for rubber by more than 375,000 rai per year over the next five years; and investing resources to help move the local industry up the value chain. The government faces significant challenges on the former approach, as the Thai rubber farmers remain politically powerful. Rubber barons as well as small-scale farmers concentrated in the Democrat Party-dominated south have long wielded electoral clout to extract subsidies from successive governments on both sides of the political divide. Last week, the government stumped up an initial handout - capped at roughly 23,000 baht plantation - to ease farmers’ concerns but many remain skeptical on the effectiveness of these solutions. The government's other initiative is to develop a new Rubber City Industrial Estate in southern Thailand. The project would consist of a 200 hectare industrial hub with financial incentives for companies operating in midstream and downstream rubber industries.

Vietnam Agriculture Restructuring

Speaking at a conference in Hanoi earlier this month, Vietnamese government leaders reaffirmed plans and goals of the Government on its agricultural restructuring efforts, to build a modern, smart agriculture sector that is globally competitive. Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Ha Cong Tuan said the agriculture sector will aim to grow at a minimum of 3 percent per year, and improve labour productivity by 3.5 percent a year by 2020. Deputy Minister Tuan also announced plans to review and develop three product lines: the national key product group, the provincial key product, and products under the model “one commune, one product”.

Agricultural restructuring had focused on productivity, accumulation of land and promotion of key export products, besides targeting growth of the gross domestic product (GDP) and export value of the sector. The sector’s growth rate reached 3.4% this year, and the significant improvement demonstrated the efficiency and success of the restructuring process. Despite these achievements, Tuan acknowledged existing challenges that still have to be addressed due to its predominantly small-scale production, sluggish industrialisation and modernisation, and insufficient investment in the sector. The sector would need to focus on sustainable development and management for resources, policies on land accumulation and larger-scale production areas. The sector should also promote public investment and building of infrastructure for irrigation, transportation and post-harvest processing. The critical role that both the Vietnamese People and businesses play in the restructuring process was further emphasised.

Vietnam pushes for ban in herbicides with toxic ingredients

Despite some public controversy, the Plant Protection Department intends to petition the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development to ban the toxic ingredients Fipronil, Chlorpyrifos and Glyphosate in herbicides, citing human health and environmental concerns. This is following the recent approved ban of four other toxic active ingredients used in herbicides (namely Acephate, Diazinon, Malathion and Zinc phosphide) by the Ministry on August 28. In 2015, the World Health Organisation cancer agency concluded that Glyphosate was “probably carcinogenic” which sparked moves from 36 other countries, including the European Union, to ban the use of the toxic ingredient. However, some proponents have argued that Glyphosate has been safely used for more than 40 years and is registered for use in 160 countries worldwide.

The volume of herbicides imported to Vietnam has increased rapidly over the past few years to 120,000 tonnes last year. At present, about 30,000 tonnes of Glyphosate and 3,500 - 4,000 tonnes of Fipronil and Chlorpyrifos each are used each year in the country. Chemical herbicides are widely used due to their low cost and high efficiency, but improper use of the substance might destroy the environment, affect public health and threaten the agricultural sector. The Ministry targets to ban 30% of all herbicides currently used in Vietnam, including all with toxic ingredients, and encourage a shift towards biological herbicides instead of chemical ones by 2020. The Department also plans to tighten regulations for the herbicide industry. According to Hoàng Trung, head of the Plant Protection Department, the market is unlikely to suffer any severe impact as there are up to 77 other permitted alternatives beside Glyphosate. To minimize losses on domestic businesses, there is also a grace period of one year for farmers to use their existing stock. However, considering that Glyphosate makes up a large percentage of the total herbicide imports, there is uncertainty on the implications of such a ban on costs and production efficiency in the industry.

 
ADVOCACY UPDATE
 
 

Presentation for ASEAN Ministerial Meeting on Agriculture and Forestry, October 11, 2018 

The US-ASEAN Business Council recently conducted a business mission to the 40th ASEAN Ministerial Meeting on Agriculture and Forestry (AMAF) in Hanoi, Vietnam from October 11-12, 2018. Led by Council’s Senior Vice President and Regional Managing Director, Ambassador Michael Michalak, the business mission was to formulate and implement regional cooperation activities to enhance the international competitiveness of ASEAN’s food, agriculture and forestry products as well as further strengthen the food security arrangement in the region and joint positions in international area. The Council was given the opportunity to conduct a presentation addressed to the Senior Officials (October 9, 2018) and Agriculture Ministers (October 11, 2018) on key areas of collaborations, particularly in the area of food security. More details may be found in the presentation slides here.

 
IN THIS UPDATE
 
 
ASEAN
Agritourism workshop for ASEAN tourism stakeholders | Borneo Bulletin Online

Brunei
Sungai Asap resettlement area has potential as food producer | Borneo Bulletin Online

Cambodia
Rice exporters call for planning, coordination
South Korea has an appetite for the Kingdom’s agriculture
10-day US Foods Week kicks off in Phnom Penh as demand among Cambodians continue to rise
CRF voices concern over EU rice tax on Cambodia
Cambodia wants bulk agro negotiation with China
Rubber price drops while exports rise
Amru urges EU to reconsider tariffs
Organic coffee production boosted
Cambodia rice exports continue to fall
Sugarcane a ‘huge potential for farmers’
Banana farm inspections to ease SPS compliance worries
New pepper federation set to promote sector
Swiss NGO to invest $7.8m in agriculture projects
Food safety requires stronger cooperation, experts say

Indonesia
Gov't Relaxes Palm Oil Levy Rules: Finance Ministry
Health reasons may cause decline in soft drink consumption: Producers
Gov't to Buy Rubber From Farmers to Prop Up Prices
Sustainable fisheries: A legacy to future generations
Indonesia to keep CPO export tax at zero, cocoa at 5 pct for Dec
Indonesia's coffee outputs to touch 650,000 tons this year
Indonesia, Malaysia palm oil stocks seen rising above 8 mil T by year-end — analyst
Indonesia launches pangasius brand to target Middle East

Laos
Tap water business booming in Laos
Lao onion, garlic smuggled across Mekong River, seized at Thai border market
Wet season rice production down in Laos due to flood

Malaysia
Malaysian palm oil price drops on high stock outlook, Indonesian levy change
Government to tackle further drop in palm oil prices
Malaysia bets on durian as China goes bananas for world's smelliest fruit
CAP urges government to raise white sugar price
No discussion on PS1M implementation next year - Maszlee
Looking at leasing model as alternative development model - Uggah
Govt told to continue helping needy farmers, fisherman, smallholders
Sufficient food supply during monsoon season - Salahuddin
Bipartisan opposition to open tender for fertiliser scheme
Biosecurity Plan for oil palm to benefit industry
Advanced technology to help boost agricultural productivity - Salahuddin Ayub
Agriculture Dept: Alarming trend of unregistered pesticides coming into Malaysia from neighbouring nations
Govt in midst of drafting national agro-food policy - Dr Mahathir
Malaysia bets on durian as China goes bananas over it
Dr M says agriculture can evolve with technology, despite limited government funds
Smoking ban at all eateries stays: Dr Dzulkefly
Tech-driving growth in Sarawak’s agriculture
War on adulterated drinks
Budget 2019: Encouraging allocation for MoA

Myanmar
Foreign Investment in Myanmar on the Rise: Deputy Minister for Planning and Finance
Myanmar exports over 215,000 cattle in two years
EU set to slap tariffs on rice from Cambodia, Myanmar
Reinstatement of rice tariffs unrelated to politics: Brussels
Rice exports expected to decline this FY
Kesi Locals Move to Reclaim 5,000 Acres of Land Seized by Tatmadaw
Whisky mogul takes aim at foreign liquor producers over illegal imports
UNDP, Norway boost conservation of Inle Lake

Philippines
NFA hikes palay purchases
275,000 metric tons of rice imports set to arrive
Suggested retail price for sugar urged
Food exporters see recovery in 2019
Local rubber farmers sign processing deal with manufacturing company
Rice tariff law to shave 0.3%-point off inflation
Philippines mulls tariff on palm oil imports
Amendments to Seed Law pushed
Department of Agriculture expands Partnership with Ayala Corp
Rice farmers see P60 billion loss under tariffication bill
Philippines still lags in agriculture sophistication — PIDS
Government urged to hike funding for agriculture, climate adaptation
NFA sets 3rd attempt to bid out rice contracts
Senate OKs bill imposing tariffs on rice importation
USDA forecasts 10% rise in food exports to PHL
Long-term agri productivity gap: The major cause of poverty
Belmonte trains 6,600 participants on urban farming program
UN agency invests P3.36 billion in agriculture MSMEs
Rice stocks down by 17.9% in Oct
Bam leads turnover of agri equipment
DA, URC team up to boost potato output
Q3 farm output weighs on overall economic growth with first drop in seven quarters
IFAD to invest $63.5 million in agricultural enterprises
PH agri output dips in July-Sept
Binay pushes for regulation of pet food
DILG, BFAR plan to add teeth to inshore bottom-trawling ban | BusinessWorld
CARP saga longest-running in Asia, possibly the world, PIDS study says
NFA closes supply deal for 203,000-MT rice imports from Thailand and Vietnam
Philippines, Papua New Guinea ink deal on agriculture cooperation
NFA to ease rice importation process for private sector
Senate approves bill lifting rice import caps
NFA’s G2G rice bid fails anew over reference price
Senate gives final green light for rice tariff bill | BusinessWorld
Suppliers refuse to meet NFA price as rice auction fails again | BusinessWorld
How inflation exposed gaps in the food supply chain | BusinessWorld
PHL’s bid to import 203,000 MT of rice hits snag on TOR issues
DA chief and sugar farmers’ appeal to Senate: Don’t slash Sida budget

Singapore
Durian prices fall due to low customer numbers, expected to dip further
Golden Agri-Resources posts US$53.9m Q3 loss on weaker palm oil prices, forex losses
MOH wants public consultation on whether Singapore should ban or tax high-sugar drinks
Company fined $9,000 for fraudulent labelling of canned food
Singapore works to tackle threats to food supply

Thailand
New rubber price subsidy is 'unfair', says RNRF
Guideline prices for high-value lumber prioritised
Durian quality scheme gets growth boost
Rubber farms stretched as US-China trade war saps demand
GSB app targets farmers
Rice export competition tightens
Bayer offers 20% yield boost for (Northeast ) rice farmers
Rice thefts worry farmers amid high prices
Thailand secures orders for more than 300,000 tons of rice
Commerce Ministry promotes dairy products export under FTA dealings
Agribusiness slow to adopt tech, far from 4.0
Thailand, Japan break bread
Excise wants levy on salty, fatty ingredients
Labor Minister discusses measures to address labor shortage in fishery sector

Vietnam
Unrestricted foreign ownership at Sabeco approved
Durian prices in HCM City remain high despite oversupply
Coffee industry needs private-public partnerships
City improves food security, produce quality
US pushes food exports to Việt Nam
Vietnamese rice exports up, China biggest market
VN’s food safety demand an opportunity
Food Hotel Hanoi 2018 opens
TCP doubling down with Vietnam play
Coffee Day to open in Đắk Nông
Bến Tre hosts agriculture conference
Việt Nam needs to restructure cashew production
Technology key to agricultural production: forum
National food safety information database to be set up
Mexico, Việt Nam to co-operate on agricultural research
3% annual growth for agriculture by 2020: Ministry
Multi-billion USD irrigation plan approved for Central Highlands
Agriculture sector targets 3 pct annual growth by 2020
Experts make policy recommendations to foster Agriculture 4.0
Restructuring helps form three key categories of agricultural products
Online market for agricultural products launched
Long An to host third Việt Nam rice festival
Sales of prepared food sales increase, convenience store chains expand
Vietnam’s exporters sell more fruit thanks to blockchain apps
Roundtable shows aquaculture industry way forward
Việt Nam spends $1.43 billion on vegetables and fruits import
City cracks down on food-safety violators
Enterprises fined for violating food safety regulations
 
ARTICLE CLIPS
 
 
ASEAN

Agritourism workshop for ASEAN tourism stakeholders | Borneo Bulletin Online Borneo Bulletin Online 11th Nov 2018
TOURISM and agriculture seem to be most apart from each other, but ASEAN tourism stakeholders learnt that agriculture can become a tourism asset. The ASEAN-Japan Centre (AJC) conducted a ‘Workshop on Sustainable Tourism: Agritourism’ from October 14 to 19 in Tokyo and Aomori prefecture, Japan. It was organised for the management-level stakeholders in tourism from both the government and the private sectors of ASEAN member states to learn how the Japanese government and communities use agritourism to attract more visitors.

Brunei

Sungai Asap resettlement area has potential as food producer | Borneo Bulletin Online Borneo Bulletin Online 13th Nov 2018
The Sungai Asap Resettlement Area, near Belaga, has all the potential to be another major mass producer of food in the state, said Deputy Chief Minister, Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah. Uggah, who is also Minister of Agriculture Modernisation, Native Land and Regional Development, said the ministry was proposing to introduce modern agricultural programmes like fertigation and hydroponics for high-quality produce and better income. He said the locals, whom he described as “experienced and hardworking farmers”, could also plant chilli, rock melon and vegetables or be oil palm smallholders.

Cambodia

Rice exporters call for planning, coordination Khmer Times 5th Dec 2018
Local rice exporters yesterday call for better planning and communication between all industry actors to meet China’s import quota.

South Korea has an appetite for the Kingdom’s agriculture Phnom Penh Post 4th Dec 2018
South Korean investors may look further into Cambodia’s food processing and agriculture sectors instead of its technology industry said the Asean-Korea Centre (AKC). AKC secretary-general Lee Hyuk said Korean companies also regard Cambodia as a potential investment destination.

10-day US Foods Week kicks off in Phnom Penh as demand among Cambodians continue to rise Phnom Penh Post 3rd Dec 2018
The US Foods Week is back in town as the appetite for American food products continue to grow among the increasing affluent Cambodian consumers. Local consumers and tourists to Cambodia have been keen on US foods. US food imports into Cambodia have doubled in value, from $10.3 million in 2013 to $19.6 million in 2017.

CRF voices concern over EU rice tax on Cambodia Phnom Penh Post 3rd Dec 2018
The president of the Cambodia Rice Federation (CRF) has expressed concern over an impending EU tariff on Cambodian rice imports, saying that it is factors within EU states that are harming European farmers most.

Cambodia wants bulk agro negotiation with China Khmer Times 28th Nov 2018
Cambodia urged China to consider a package deal in negotiations on sensitive sanitary and phytosanitary issues regarding exports of agricultural products to Beijing, said Ho Sivyong, director of Export and Import Department at Ministry of Commerce yesterday. Mr Sivyong said with this proposal, negotiators will be able to discuss a regulatory framework that will accelerate local exports of agricultural products to China.

Rubber price drops while exports rise Phnom Penh Post 27th Nov 2018
Cambodian rubber exports during the first 10 months are up 24 per cent, while the price decreased 18 per cent compared to the same period last year, figures from the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries said.

Amru urges EU to reconsider tariffs Khmer Times 19th Nov 2018
In an open letter to the European Union, Amru Rice, one of the biggest rice exporters, on Friday urged the Europeans to reconsider imposing tariffs on import of Cambodian rice to the bloc following complaints of price imbalances raised by Italy and Spain.

Organic coffee production boosted Khmer Times 19th Nov 2018
Locally produced organic coffee has seen a significant rise in demand followed by a 50 percent increase of land under cultivation in 2018 mostly due to the shifting taste buds among citizens in Phnom Penh, said officials on Friday.

Cambodia rice exports continue to fall Bangkok Post 14th Nov 2018
Cambodia’s rice export fell 13.2% in the first 10 months of 2018 due to two factors, the European Union stopped buying Cambodian rice and the 300,000 tonnes quota to China was not fulfilled, Kann Kunthy, vice president and managing director of Amru Rice Cambodia, said. Kunthy was commenting on a report from the Secretariat of One Window Service for Rice Export which said in the first 10 months of 2018, Cambodia exported 434,807 tonnes of rice, compared to 492,115 tonnes over the same period in 2017. s top export market.

Sugarcane a ‘huge potential for farmers’ Phnom Penh Post 13th Nov 2018
Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries spokesman Srey Vuthy said the ministry is now trying to persuade farmers to grow sugarcane. This is because the sector has ample room for growth as sugar companies push for higher yields. He said the sugarcane industry has huge potential for farmers to boost their cultivation to meet the industry’s production requirements.

Banana farm inspections to ease SPS compliance worries Khmer Times 13th Nov 2018
In an effort to ensure compliance with sanitary and phyto-sanitary standards in the Chinese market, the Ministry of Agriculture will send teams to registered banana farms to conduct on-site checks.

New pepper federation set to promote sector Phnom Penh Post 12th Nov 2018
The government has formed a new federation for the country’s pepper industry to enhance the market and solve challenges in the sector, as the cash crop is currently facing depressed prices.

Swiss NGO to invest $7.8m in agriculture projects Khmer Times 9th Nov 2018
Swiss NGO HEKS/EPER yesterday announced a five-year strategy that will see nearly $8 million poured into programmes that tackle food security, access to water, good governance, and the cashew nut value chain, among others. Covering the years 2018-2022, the HEKS/EPER Foundation’s programme directly targets 100,000 people in the provinces of Pursat, Kampong Chhnang, Prey Veng, Tboung Khmum, Kratie, Mondulkiri, and Stung Treng.

Food safety requires stronger cooperation, experts say Khmer Times 7th Nov 2018
Government officials and industry experts yesterday highlighted the need for a stronger collaboration among authorities, the private and non-profit sectors and consumers to enhance food safety in the Kingdom. The calls for greater cooperation among all actors in the food industry were made during the Food Safety Forum held in Phnom Penh yesterday, the first meeting of its kind organised to aid the drafting of effective food-related regulation.

Indonesia

Gov't Relaxes Palm Oil Levy Rules: Finance Ministry Jakarta Globe 5th Dec 2018
The government has relaxed rules on palm oil levies and derivative products effective immediately, following a drop in prices, according to a finance  ministry regulation issued on Wednesday.

Health reasons may cause decline in soft drink consumption: Producers The Jakarta Post 4th Dec 2018
The Indonesian Food and Beverage Producers Association (Gapmmi) has corrected its growth target from 10 percent to between 8 and 9 percent, particularly due to a declining demand in both soft drinks and bottled water. Gapmmi chairman Adhi S Lukman explained the growth correction was made because the association had seen a decline in consumers’ interests to consume soft drinks because of health reasons.

Gov't to Buy Rubber From Farmers to Prop Up Prices Jakarta Globe 26th Nov 2018
Jakarta President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo ordered the public works ministry to buy rubber directly from farmers and cooperatives to help prop up local prices, a statement from the Cabinet Secretariat said on Monday.

Sustainable fisheries: A legacy to future generations The Jakarta Post 14th Nov 2018
The life of billions of people in the world depends on fisheries. About 88 percent global fish production is utilized for human consumption, according to 2016 data from the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). The world also relies on the fisheries industry for 120 million jobs.

Indonesia to keep CPO export tax at zero, cocoa at 5 pct for Dec Reuters 27th Nov 2018
Indonesia will keep the export tax for crude palm oil (CPO) at zero and the export levy for cocoa at 5 percent for December, Oke Nurwan, a senior official of the trade ministry, told reporters on Tuesday

Indonesia's coffee outputs to touch 650,000 tons this year Xinhua 27th Nov 2018
Production of coffee in Indonesia is forecast to reach between 630,000 tons to 650,000 tons by the year end, the Indonesian coffee exporters association said on Tuesday.

Indonesia, Malaysia palm oil stocks seen rising above 8 mil T by year-end — analyst The Edge Markets 14th Nov 2018
Palm oil inventories in Indonesia and Malaysia are expected to climb above 8 million tonnes by year-end on the back of higher production and disappointing demand, an industry analyst said on Wednesday.

Indonesia launches pangasius brand to target Middle East Undercurrent News 14th Nov 2018
Indonesia has launched a pangasius brand with which it aims to capitalize on growing demand for the farmed fish in Middle Eastern markets, Amalia Maulana, brand consultant on the project, told Undercurrent News.

Laos

Tap water business booming in Laos The Nation 4th Dec 2018
The tap-water business in Laos’ top tourist destination Luang Prabang has enormous potential for growth due to the rapid expansion of tourism, a high-speed rail project in the works and high demand for water utilities across the country, according to Exim Bank and Thai investors in Laos. Tap water supplies have gone up rapidly in recent years in lock-step with growing demand of 10-15 per cent yearly in Luang Prabang. This compares with 3 per cent annual growth in large Thai cities, says Pira Intaratood, managing director of Asia Infrastructure Management (Thailand) Ltd. AIM has won concession from the local government to supply tap water to the city.

Lao onion, garlic smuggled across Mekong River, seized at Thai border market Xinhua 12th Nov 2018
Red onion and garlic allegedly smuggled across Mekong River from Laos were seized at a Thai border market on Monday, police said. A haul of 1.7 tons of red onion and 1.4 tons of garlic were seized from a couple of pickup trucks at the border market in That Phanom district of Nakhon Phanom province, about 737 km northeast of Bangkok, said police superintendent Pol. Col. Chularit Chulaka.

Wet season rice production down in Laos due to flood Xinhua 9th Nov 2018
Wet season rice production in Laos is expected to be reduced by about 300,000 tons after widespread flooding this year that affected many parts of the country. The Lao government, especially the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, has encouraged farmers around the country to produce 3.5 million tons of rainy season rice, but authorities expected the harvest to achieve about 3.2 million tons, local daily Vientiane Times on Friday quoted the ministry officials as saying.

Malaysia

Malaysian palm oil price drops on high stock outlook, Indonesian levy change The Star Online 6th Dec 2018
Malaysian palm oil futures fell more than 1 percent on Wednesday due to expectations of rising inventories in Malaysia and a change in Indonesia's export levy rules. Indonesia relaxed rules on palm oil levies and derivative products effective immediately following a drop in prices, the country's finance ministry said on Wednesday.

Government to tackle further drop in palm oil prices The Star Online 28th Nov 2018
The fall in the Malaysian crude palm oil futures prices – its biggest in more than 21 months – is alarming, but the government will undertake all efforts to handle the issue, says Deputy Primary Industries Minister Datuk Seri Shamsul Iskandar Mohd Akin.

Malaysia bets on durian as China goes bananas for world's smelliest fruit Reuters 26th Nov 2018
The stinky, spiky durian is set to become Malaysia’s next major export as the Southeast Asian nation rushes to develop thousands of acres to cash in on unprecedented demand for the fruit from China.

CAP urges government to raise white sugar price Bernama 14th Nov 2018
In conjunction with World Diabetes Day, the Consumers Association of Penang (CAP) is proposing that the government raises the price of white sugar to RM5 per kilogramme (kg). CAP president SM Mohamed Idris said Malaysia should find a more holistic approach to solve the problem of obesity among the population as diabetes in Malaysia was expected to climb at an increased rate due to Malaysians’ unhealthy lifestyle and unbalanced diet. He said according to the International Diabetes Federation (IDF), there were nearly 3.5 million diabetes cases reported in Malaysia since 2017 and the prevalence of diabetes in adults in the country was 16.9 per cent. “Compared to the daily sugar limit of six tablespoons, we (Malaysians) consume 21 teaspoons of sugar daily, which means 630 teaspoons per month, which makes us one of the highest sugar users in the world,” he said in a press conference, here today.

No discussion on PS1M implementation next year - Maszlee Bernama 14th Nov 2018
 The government will review the implementation of the 1Malaysia Milk Programme (PS1M) before deciding to proceed or cancel the programme next year. Education Minister Dr Maszlee Malik said the programme would not continue this year as it was already November with the school holiday round the corner.

Looking at leasing model as alternative development model - Uggah Bernama 14th Nov 2018
The Ministry of Modernisation of Agriculture, Native Land and Regional Development is now looking at the leasing model as an alternative development model for Native Customary Rights Land to complement the existing models which have been implemented since the 1970’s. Its minister, Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas said under the proposed leasing model, the lease rental rates would be based on the principle of "willing seller and willing buyer". "This model is currently being practised by landowners and investors through privately arranged ventures. "My ministry will regulate the non-formal arrangement by registering the agreement to safeguard the interests of NCR landowners and investors," he said in his winding-up speech at the State Legislative Assembly sitting, here, today.

Govt told to continue helping needy farmers, fisherman, smallholders New Straits Times 13th Nov 2018
Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim urged the government to continue assisting farmers, fishermen and smallholders who require government incentives. He reminded the government that the average group of those seeking help were poor but the budget tabled by Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng recently cut and minimised allocation for them. “I ask especially for the coming monsoon season, that incentives be given to smallholders and rubber tappers, fertiliser subsidies and paddy production incentives, and include fisherman as well,” said the Member of Parliament for Port Dickson when debating the Budget 2019 in parliament today.

Sufficient food supply during monsoon season - Salahuddin Bernama 13th Nov 2018
The government has assured of sufficient food supply, including agriculture produce, to meet the needs during the monsoon season. Agriculture and Agro-based Industry Minister Datuk Salahuddin Ayub said preparations had been made since six months ago to ensure there would be adequate food stock in the eventuality of a disaster in the country. “If there is going to be a shortage in food supply, it will only be for meat, but we are prepared with a plan to import it from other countries,” he told reporters after opening the 8th International Agriculture Congress and the 6th International Symposium for Food and Agriculture here today.

Bipartisan opposition to open tender for fertiliser scheme New Straits Times 12th Nov 2018
Lawmakers from opposite sides of the political divide are urging the government to review its decision to implement an open tender system for the Federal Government Paddy Fertiliser Scheme. The subsidy has hitherto been given directly to the National Farmers’ Organisation’s (Nafas) fertliser factory in Gurun, Kedah.

Biosecurity Plan for oil palm to benefit industry Bernama 12th Nov 2018
With the newly-launched Biosecurity Plan for oil palm in place, various agencies, the industry and stakeholders will be more committed and vigilant in responding to any potential intrusion of exotic pests and diseases into Malaysia. This, will in turn, protect the health and yield of oil palm, said Minister of Primary Industries, Teresa Kok.

Advanced technology to help boost agricultural productivity - Salahuddin Ayub New Straits Times 8th Nov 2018
The Agriculture and Agro-based Industry targeted national padi production of between eight and ten tonnes per each hectare in future, said its minister Datuk Salahuddin Ayub. He said the target could be achieved through the usage of modern technology and efficient deployment of manpower. He said the boost in agricultural productivity was part of the ministry’s vision in an effort to enhance the farmers’ income which would contribute to the country’s gross domestic product (GDP). “I made an observation and has no intention of denying efforts made by the previous administration (in adopting technology in agriculture).

Agriculture Dept: Alarming trend of unregistered pesticides coming into Malaysia from neighbouring nations Malay Mail 4th Dec 2018
PUTRAJAYA, Dec 4 ― The movement of unregistered pesticides from a neighbouring nation into the country is alarming as its use may threaten the country's food safety, said Agriculture director-general Datuk Jamal Harizan Yang Razali.

Govt in midst of drafting national agro-food policy - Dr Mahathir Bernama.com 28th Nov 2018
Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said the government is in the process of drafting the National Agro-Food Policy 2021-2030, the objective of which is to spur the modernisation of the agro-food sector.

Malaysia bets on durian as China goes bananas over it The Star Online 27th Nov 2018
The spiky durian is set to become Malaysia's next major export as the Southeast Asian nation rushes to develop thousands of acres to cash in on unprecedented demand for the fruit from China.

Dr M says agriculture can evolve with technology, despite limited government funds Malay Mail 22nd Nov 2018
Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said technology will help revolutionise the agriculture sector even with limited government funding as Putrajaya has been forced to tighten its belt in the 2019 Budget.

Smoking ban at all eateries stays: Dr Dzulkefly New Straits Times 14th Nov 2018
The government will not compromise with the smoking ban in all restaurants, food outlets and hawker stalls as it involves public interest, says Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad. He said the government’s directive to ban smoking at all eateries would stay despite the protests from restaurant operators and eatery owners who voiced dissatisfaction with the rules which would take effect in January.

Tech-driving growth in Sarawak’s agriculture BorneoPost Online 10th Nov 2018
Agriculture remains a key frontier industry for Sarawak, as examplified by two major events — the Sarawak Agrofest 2018 and International Conference on Agriculture and Agro-based Industry Sarawak 2018 (ICAAS 2018), which are related to the development of agriculture in the state — being held last month. The Sarawak Agrofest 2018 wase held from Oct 20 to 28, while the ICAAS 2018 was held from Oct 23 and 24 at Penview Convention Centre (PCC) in Demak.

War on adulterated drinks New Straits Times 8th Nov 2018
DEPUTY Health Minister Dr Lee Boon Chye has ordered agencies under the ministry to go all out against sellers and manufacturers of adulterated beverages. Among the agencies involved are the Pharmaceutical Services Division and Food Safety and Quality Division. Dr Lee said agencies from other ministries, such as the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC), Cyber Security Malaysia, Customs Department and police would be roped in. He said the Pharmaceutical Services Division’s Forensic Branch would take the lead in the effort as it had been carrying out enforcement all this while.

Budget 2019: Encouraging allocation for MoA New Straits Times 6th Nov 2018
The Agriculture and Agro-based Industry Ministry has been given an encouraging allocation in Budget 2019 to continue to develop the country’s agriculture sector, as well as to increase productivity and income of farmers, breeders and fishermen. The ministry, in a statement issued today, said it was allocated RM4.417 billion, with RM3.057 billion for operating expenditure and the remaining for development expenditure.

Myanmar

Foreign Investment in Myanmar on the Rise: Deputy Minister for Planning and Finance The Irrawaddy 14th Nov 2018
Myanmar’s deputy minister for planning and finance said foreign investment in Myanmar is on the rise, stating the country has so far attracted more than $12 billion in foreign investment since the National League for Democracy (NLD) government took office in 2016. U Set Aung told the country’s Lower House on Tuesday that from 2016 to 2018, the Southeast Asian country has seen 360 foreign investments totaling $12.37 billion in 10 sectors ranging from agriculture to industry to tourism. Since the enactment of the 1988 Investment Law, Myanmar has accepted 1,110 investments valuing a total of $63.72 billion as of March 2016.

Myanmar exports over 215,000 cattle in two years The Myanmar Times 3rd Dec 2018
Commerce Ministry Deputy Minister U Aung Htoo told the Lower House that from December 2016 to November 28 this year the country exported 186,701 cows and 28,632 buffaloes.  U Aung Htoo said the ministry has worked on signing an agreement between the Myanmar Livestock, Breeding and Veterinary Department and the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine of the People’s Republic of China, to prove that the country’s exported cattle are disease-free. 

EU set to slap tariffs on rice from Cambodia, Myanmar Reuters 3rd Dec 2018
The European Commission will on Tuesday propose imposing tariffs on rice coming from Cambodia and Myanmar to curb a surge in imports that it believes is damaging to European producers. The proposed "safeguard" measures would apply for three years, setting a duty of 175 euros ($198.84) per tonne in the first year, dropping to 150 euros in the second and 125 euros in year three, according to people familiar with the plan.

Reinstatement of rice tariffs unrelated to politics: Brussels The Myanmar Times 15th Nov 2018
The European Union will decide whether to restore tariffs on Indica rice imports from Myanmar in a bid to protect its own producers early next year. Brussels has denied the move is related to the country’s alleged human rights violations in northern Rakhine. “The rapid increase of Myanmar’s Indica rice exports has overwhelmed some European producers. The EU will therefore probably reinstate customs duties to protect them,” a spokesperson of the EU Delegation to Myanmar told The Myanmar Times.

Rice exports expected to decline this FY Eleven Media 11th Nov 2018
Due to illegal exports of rice via border gates, rice exports are expected to decline in 2018-2019 fiscal year, according to Myanmar Rice Federation (MRF). Ye Min Aung, General Secretary of Myanmar Rice Federation (MRF) said: “According to our estimate, the rice export is expected to reach two to three million tons this fiscal year. We need to monitor the situation.” Thanks to the market expansion in 2017-2018 FY, the total rice export reached nearly 3.6 million tons, breaking the 50-year record.

Kesi Locals Move to Reclaim 5,000 Acres of Land Seized by Tatmadaw Burma News International 9th Nov 2018
Land owners, village headmen and parliamentarians held a meeting in southern Shan State’s Kesi Township to discuss measuring and reclaiming 5,000 acres seized by the Burmese military more than 20 years ago. The meeting of 200 locals was held at Mong Kawng monastery in the Kesi village tract by the same name on Tuesday morning. It was also attended by representatives from the township administration, land, agriculture, planning, and forest departments, and the chairman of the municipal committee and members of the land investigation committee.

Whisky mogul takes aim at foreign liquor producers over illegal imports Frontier Myanmar 6th Nov 2018
Several government officials have told Frontier that Aung Moe Kyaw has complained about illicit imports of foreign spirits, which have been banned since 1995 but are easily available because of rampant smuggling. U Myint Cho, the head of the Yangon Region Consumer Affairs Department, said Aung Moe Kyaw had even brought the issue up during a discussion with State Counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi in Nay Pyi Taw in late August.

UNDP, Norway boost conservation of Inle Lake The Myanmar Times 6th Nov 2018
The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the government of Norway have joined in efforts to save one of the most scenic lakes in the country, Inle Lake in Shan State. The lake, which is one of the favourite tourist destinations in the country is experiencing environmental degradation due to the combined effects of unsustainable resource use, increasing population, climate change and rapid tourism development.

Philippines

NFA hikes palay purchases Phil Star Global 5th Dec 2018
The National Food Authority (NFA) procured a total of 1.01 million bags of palay from local farmers in the first 11 months, the bulk of which was bought after the agency introduced an additional P3 per kilo buffer stocking incentive.

275,000 metric tons of rice imports set to arrive Phil Star Global 5th Dec 2018
As the Philippines moves towards the unlimited importation of rice, around 274, 476 metric tons (MT) are expected to enter the country after 30 private traders applied to bring in the commodity under the out-quota scheme.Last month, the interagency National Food Authority Council allowed the unlimited importation of rice in a bid to further stabilize the market ahead of the bicameral conference committee for rice tariffication.

Suggested retail price for sugar urged Phil Star Global 5th Dec 2018
The Sugar Regulatory Administration (SRA) is urging the Department of Trade and Industry to implement a suggested retail price for sugar. Emilio Yulo, SRA board member for the planters sector, said the DTI should be on deck in addressing profiteering as sugar prices remain high at retail level despite the decrease at the mill gate.

Food exporters see recovery in 2019 Phil Star Global 4th Dec 2018
The country’s agricultural food exports are expected to bounce back next year, returning to the $5-billion mark due to improved production of raw materials. According to the Philippine Food Processors and Exporters Organization Inc. (PhilFoodex), agricultural exports will reach $5.5 billion in 2019. This year, PhilFoodex sees exports further declining due to the rising cost of materials for agricultural produce owing to lack of supply.

Local rubber farmers sign processing deal with manufacturing company Manila Bulletin 1st Dec 2018
The deal between farmers and a manufacturing firm, which will pave the way for the local processing of rubber, has been signed. In a statement, Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol said the country’s rubber farmers will start producing and marketing motorcycle and small tractor tires by February next year, a major leap from their status of being just raw materials producers.

Rice tariff law to shave 0.3%-point off inflation Phil Star Global 26th Nov 2018
The National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) lauded Congres’ approval of the rice tariffication bill, saying this would ease food supply pressures and pave the way for the improvement of agricultural productivity.

Philippines mulls tariff on palm oil imports Phil Star Global 25th Nov 2018
Despite the existing tariff-free agreement within the ASEAN region, the Philippines is now mulling to impose duty on palm oil imports amid the possible dumping of the commodity in the country causing a slump in the prices of coconut. The Department of Agriculture (DA) is now investigating the dumping of palm oil in the country after the volume that is being imported has expanded significantly.

Amendments to Seed Law pushed Phil Star Global 25th Nov 2018
The Seed Industry Development Act of 1992 (Philippine Seed Law) needs to be amended in order for the sector to thrive, an official of the Philippine Seed Industry Association (PSIA) said. In particular, he said provisions on seed quality control and illegal seeding practices need to be amended.

Department of Agriculture expands Partnership with Ayala Corp Phil Star Global 22nd Nov 2018
The Department of Agriculture has expanded its corporate farming project with conglomerate Ayala Corp., this time linking local farmers’ vegetable produce with institutional buyers.

Rice farmers see P60 billion loss under tariffication bill Phil Star Global 21st Nov 2018
Local farmers are poised to lose P60 billion every year with the Senate’s version of the rice tariffication bill, a much higher value than the supposed fund to be allocated to improve their competitiveness, a farmers group said.

Philippines still lags in agriculture sophistication — PIDS Phil Star Global 18th Nov 2018
The sophistication of processed Philippine farm products has not advanced in more than a decade, preventing the agriculture industry from evolving into a high-value sector, according to a new paper by state-run think tank Philippine Institute for Development Studies (PIDS). In a new discussion paper, “Harnessing the Potential of the Philippines’ Agricultural Sector: An Assessment using the Product Space,” PIDS researchers said the sophistication content of the country’s agricultural exports has not improved from 1994 to 2014 and remains inferior to world market standards.

Government urged to hike funding for agriculture, climate adaptation Phil Star Global 18th Nov 2018
Ifugao lawmaker Teodoro Baguilat Jr. called on the government to increase investments in agriculture development and climate change adaptation and mitigation as the economy continues to be battered by the adverse effects of natural disasters that have a big impact on the farm sector.

NFA sets 3rd attempt to bid out rice contracts The Manila Times Online 15th Nov 2018
A third attempt to secure 203,000 metric tons (MT) of rice import contracts will be made by the National Food Authority (NFA) next week following Tuesday’s failed bidding, Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol said. Piñol, who chairs the NFA Council, said the policy-making body had approved “some adjustments” after both Thailand and Vietnam offered prices higher than the $447.88/MT reference price under the government-to-government (G2G) tender.

Senate OKs bill imposing tariffs on rice importation Manila Bulletin News 14th Nov 2018
The Senate has approved on third and final reading Wednesday night the bill that would liberalize the importation of rice into the country with the imposition of tariffs. Voting 14-0, the Upper Chamber passed Senate Bill No. 1998, which seeks to replace the quantitative restrictions (QR) on rice imports with tariff and hence, will remove unnecessary government intervention on rice market. The bill also moves to remove the QR on rice exports. The bill, amending the Agricultural Tariffication Act of 1996, is expected to address the rising rice prices in the country. The measure was certified as urgent by President Duterte. The measure proposes the abolition of the National Food Authority (NFA) Council and would open importation to private rice traders. Senator Cynthia Villar, chair of the Senate Committee on Agriculture and sponsor of the SB 1998, during the plenary debates Wednesday said the NFA, also, would no be longer allowed to import rice and instead be mandated to buy rice supply from local farmers who would be affected by the removal of the QR on rice imports.

USDA forecasts 10% rise in food exports to PHL Business World 12th Nov 2018
According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Global Agricultural Information Network (GAIN), consumer-oriented food and beverage products including wine are viewed as having the strongest prospects for future export growth driven by consumer confidence in the quality of US goods. USDA said that the Philippines has been the largest market for US wines in Southeast Asia by volume since 2009. It forecast US wine exports to the Philippines of 4.3 million liters this year, up 10.3%. The USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) in Manila held promotional events in Makati to increase awareness of the availability, variety and quality of US fine foods and wines.

Long-term agri productivity gap: The major cause of poverty Business World 12th Nov 2018
Why is national poverty incidence in the Philippines more than twice that of ASEAN peers — Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam? It is even magnified in the farmers’ and fishers’ poverty of 34%. Thesis: it is due to broad-based low productivity and concentration on few products. Benchmarking compares yield parameters with “best-in-class” in the ASEAN. To provide empirical evidence, the productivity of key crops over the past 36 years were compared and gaps determined using data from the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). Ten major crops were covered, namely: rice, corn, coconut, sugarcane, banana, coffee, pineapple, cassava, sweet potato, and rubber. A key finding is that the Philippines trails its peers in all crops, except pineapple and banana. Thanks to the private sector for these competitive industries. The gaps even widened over time in most crops.

Belmonte trains 6,600 participants on urban farming program The Manila Times Online 11th Nov 2018
BOUT 6,600 individuals participated in the recent orientation and training on urban farming under the “Joy of Urban Farming” program of Quezon City Vice Mayor Joy Belmonte, held at the Quezon City hall compound. “Because we are experiencing inflation, we are intensifying the implementation of our urban farming program because more residents are asking for the training,” Belmonte said. Program participants received training on backyard gardening, eco-waste management, and climate change. They were also given a free starter kit containing seeds, soil, and other implements for farming.

UN agency invests P3.36 billion in agriculture MSMEs Phil Star Global 11th Nov 2018
The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), a specialized agency of the United Nations, is investing $63.5 million (about P3.36 billion) in projects that aim to benefit agriculture-based micro and small enterprises in 20 provinces across the Eastern Visayas and Mindanao.

Rice stocks down by 17.9% in Oct The Manila Times Online 10th Nov 2018
THE Philippines’ total rice stocks decreased by 17.87 percent to 1.59 million metric tons (MMT) as of October 1 from 1.94 MMT a year ago, the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) said. The data came as the National Food Authority (NFA), backed by the Trade department and the Philippine National Police (PNP), began imposing penalties on those violating the suggested retail prices (SRPs) of the staple as officials from these agencies inspected a market in Sampaloc, Manila on Friday. In its monthly “Rice and Corn Stocks Inventory” report, the PSA said the October figure was a 36.12-percent increase from 1.795 MMT in September, as rice imports continue to boost the NFA’s buffer stocks.

Bam leads turnover of agri equipment The Manila Times Online 10th Nov 2018
Sen. Paolo Benigno “Bam” Aquino 4th joined the Department of Agriculture (DA) during the turnover of P40 million worth of machinery, equipment and vehicles to farmers, fishermen and women’s organizations for the improvement of their livelihood. “These equipment will be a big help in improving the livelihood of the farmers, fishermen and women here in Casiguran,” said Aquino, vice chairman of the Senate Committee on Finance. He included in the 2018 National Budget (General Appropriations Act) P40 million to support livelihood projects for farmers, fisher folk and women’s organizations in Casiguran.

DA, URC team up to boost potato output The Manila Times Online 9th Nov 2018
The Department of Agriculture (DA) and Gokongwei-led Universal Robina Corp. (URC) have joined hands toward the sustainable production of good-quality potatoes in the Philippines to enhance the competitiveness of the local potato industry. Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol, URC President and CEO Irwin Lee, and URC Chairman Lance Gokongwei on Thursday signed the contract for the “Sustainable Potato Program” which aims to support the country’s Potato Industry Roadmap to make the local produce competitive against neighboring countries in the Asian region. Under the partnership, the URC has donated P5-million worth of 135,000 metric tons (MT) of good quality potato seeds which will be used for four production cycles or two crop years.

Q3 farm output weighs on overall economic growth with first drop in seven quarters Business World 8th Nov 2018
THE COUNTRY’s agricultural production fell for the first time in seven quarters in the three months to September amid the onslaught of four storms, according to data released on Wednesday by the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA), showing the sector weighed on overall economic growth for the same period which will be reported Thursday. Farm output sank 0.83% in value terms last quarter, a reversal from a three-quarter-low 2.32% growth a year ago and the first contraction since the 1.11% drop recorded in 2016’s fourth quarter. Third-quarter farm data brought growth in the nine months to September to a nearly flat 0.15%, compared to 4.64% in last year’s comparable period and the 2.5-3.5% annual target for the sector under the 2017-2022 Philippine Development Plan.

IFAD to invest $63.5 million in agricultural enterprises Business World 8th Nov 2018
THE International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) will invest $63.5 million to support agriculture-based micro and small enterprises in 20 provinces across Eastern Visayas and Mindanao. The IFAD’s Rural Agro-enterprise Partnerships for Inclusive Development and Growth Project (RAPID Growth) will be implemented by the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and will support the growth of the enterprises in value chains with comparative advantage, market demand, growth potential, linkages to small farmers, and job-generating activities. “The RAPID GROWTH project is in line with the Philippine Development Plan (2016-2022) and IFAD’s country strategy for 2017-2022 focusing on testing innovative models for improving the competitiveness, inclusion and resilience of agri-food value chains of relevance for poor and vulnerable households,” IFAD Philippines Country Director Alessandro Marini said in a statement. acio

PH agri output dips in July-Sept The Manila Times Online 8th Nov 2018
Philippines’ agricultural output decreased by 0.83 percent in the third quarter of 2018, which was blamed on the typhoons that hit the country in the period. In its quarterly “Performance of Philippine Agriculture” report, the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) said the figure was significantly lower than the 2.32-percent growth the sector posted in the same period last year. This means that agriculture, which makes up a tenth of the country’s gross domestic product, would have contributed little to third-quarter economic growth, official data for which are scheduled to be released on Thursday.

Binay pushes for regulation of pet food Manila Bulletin News 8th Nov 2018
Senator Nancy Binay is now pushing for the passage of a measure that would mandate the government to regulate pet food. Binay said once Senate Bill No. 2068, the proposed “Act Informing the Public About Additives in Pet Food,” which requires labeling of pet food products is passed into law, existing laws on food safety in the country would no longer be limited to only those being consumed by humans.

DILG, BFAR plan to add teeth to inshore bottom-trawling ban | BusinessWorld Business World 30th Nov 2018
THE Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) and the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) signed a joint memorandum circular on Wednesday strengthening enforcement of the ban on bottom trawling within municipal waters. JMC 2018-03 states that bottom trawling disturbs the seabed and destroys the complex structure of benthic habitats by direct removal of biological and topographic features.

CARP saga longest-running in Asia, possibly the world, PIDS study says BusinessMirror 29th Nov 2018
Three decades hence, the longest-running land distribution program in Asia—the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP)—has not been completely implemented, according to the Philippine Institute for Development Studies (PIDS). This was among the findings in a study, titled “The Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program After 30 Years: Accomplishments and Forward Options,” done by a research team led by PIDS Vice President Marife M. Ballesteros.

NFA closes supply deal for 203,000-MT rice imports from Thailand and Vietnam BusinessMirror 29th Nov 2018
After two failed biddings, Manila has successfully secured a supply contract with Thailand and Vietnam for the importation of 203,000 metric tons (MT) of rice to further beef up the government’s stockpile. The National Food Authority (NFA) on Wednesday accepted the bid offers of Thailand and Vietnam for the import contract as they were below the agency’s reference price. This was the third bidding conducted by the NFA via government-to-government (G2G) mode, with the first one failing as the two countries opted not to participate, while the offers in the previous tender were above the government’s ceiling price.

Philippines, Papua New Guinea ink deal on agriculture cooperation Rappler 19th Nov 2018
The governments of the Philippines and Papua New Guinea signed a deal on agriculture cooperation on Friday afternoon, November 16 at Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea, during President Rodrigo Duterte's visit. The memorandum of agreement will formalize cooperation on rice production reasearch and development, and in rice farming technology between the two countries.

NFA to ease rice importation process for private sector The Inquirer 16th Nov 2018
The National Food Authority (NFA) will finally make easier the rice importation process in the country more than a month after President Duterte gave the go-ahead to open the program to more players.

Senate approves bill lifting rice import caps BusinessMirror 15th Nov 2018
Voting 14-0 on third reading, the Senate on Wednesday adopted Committee Report 440 endorsing passage of a law replacing the quantitative import restrictions on rice with tariffs. The House of Representatives had earlier passed its version.

NFA’s G2G rice bid fails anew over reference price BusinessMirror 14th Nov 2018
The National Food Authority’s (NFA) 203,000-metric ton (MT) government-to-government (G2G) rice tender failed anew on Tuesday after the offers of Bangkok and Hanoi were rejected by the food agency as they were over its reference price. The NFA declared a failure of bidding after both Thailand and Vietnam’s offers were higher than the agency’s $447.88-per-MT reference price. This was also the NFA’s reference price in the previous G2G, where Thailand and Vietnam did not participate due to concerns over the terms of reference.

Senate gives final green light for rice tariff bill | BusinessWorld Business World 14th Nov 2018
THE SENATE on Wednesday approved on third and final reading a bill that will liberalize rice importation — a measure the government is counting on to cut retail prices of the staple by about P7 per kilogram and slash 0.7 percentage point off headline inflation which has lately been clocking multi-year peaks. The House of Representatives approved its version on Aug. 14. Senate Bill No. 1998 amends Republic Act No. 8178, or the Agricultural Tariffication Act, by replacing current quantitative import restrictions for rice with tariffs. Under bill, a 35% duty will be imposed on rice imports from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) members, while a 50% rate will apply to imports from non-ASEAN countries.

Suppliers refuse to meet NFA price as rice auction fails again | BusinessWorld Business World 13th Nov 2018
THE National Food Authority (NFA) said it rejected the bids of Thailand and Vietnam in the second government-to-government (G2G) auction for 203,000 metric tons (MT) of long grain rice at the 25% broken grade, with bids much higher than the $447.88 per MT reference price. On Tuesday morning, Thailand initially offered $480.50 per MT for 100,000 MT, while Vietnam offered $483 per MT for 203,000 MT of rice. The initial offers were rejected, as were second offers by Thailand at the same price and Vietnam at $481.50 per MT.

How inflation exposed gaps in the food supply chain | BusinessWorld Business World 12th Nov 2018
LAGUNA — The onset of 6.7% inflation in September disrupted many people’s lives, not least of them the poor, who now have to make do with less. Inflation’s effects are visible to anyone who fills up his car with fuel or puts together a household budget or buys groceries. For those who spend most of their time in the online world, inflation has even become meme-worthy, with the price of the humble sili scandalizing the population and urban legends cropping up about commuters offering to pay their way with chili peppers, once so common as to be given away free at restaurants, now worth their proverbial weight in bus fare.

PHL’s bid to import 203,000 MT of rice hits snag on TOR issues BusinessMirror 7th Nov 2018
Manila’s 203,000-metric- ton (MT) rice tender on Tuesday failed after Bangkok and Hanoi opted not to participate in the government-to-government (G2G) bidding due to concerns over the approved importation guidelines. Notwithstanding this development, the National Food Authority (NFA) expressed confidence that the retail price of rice would remain stable and even go down further sans the arrival of the 203,000 MT. NFA Assistant Administrator Maria Mercedes G. Yacapin said the NFA has ample supply to sustain the volume of rice it sells in the market, which is currently pegged around 15 percent to 20 percent of the total market requirement.

DA chief and sugar farmers’ appeal to Senate: Don’t slash Sida budget BusinessMirror 7th Nov 2018
Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel F. Piñol and sugar planters are appealing to the Senate to scrap plans to slash the Sugar Industry Development Act (Sida) fund next year by 75 percent to P500 million from P2 billion this year. Piñol confirmed that the Sida fund of the Sugar Regulatory Administration (SRA) would be slashed by three-fourths due to underspending. The SRA is an attached government-owned and -controlled corporation of the Department of Agriculture (DA).

Singapore

Durian prices fall due to low customer numbers, expected to dip further The Straits Times 14th Nov 2018
Prices for Mao Shan Wang durians are falling, as vendors in Singapore see a slump in customer numbers. Mao Shan Wang durians - also known as Musang King - usually go for more than $20 per kg, but are now being sold for $16 to $20 per kg, according to four vendors The Straits Times spoke to. One vendor that Lianhe Wanbao spoke to, King Fruits Durian, even slashed prices to $10 a durian on Monday (Nov 12).

Golden Agri-Resources posts US$53.9m Q3 loss on weaker palm oil prices, forex losses The Straits Times 13th Nov 2018
Golden Agri-Resources slipped into the red for the third quarter despite an increase in revenue. The leading palm oil producer posted a net loss of US$53.92 million for the three months ended Sept 30, a reversal from a net profit of US$43.68 million for a year-ago period.

MOH wants public consultation on whether Singapore should ban or tax high-sugar drinks The Straits Times 4th Dec 2018
Singapore may well become the first country in the world to ban the sale of packaged drinks with high sugar content. This is one of the moves the Ministry of Health (MOH) is contemplating in its efforts to cut the high sugar intake of people here, as it is a major factor for obesity and diabetes.

Company fined $9,000 for fraudulent labelling of canned food The Straits Times 15th Nov 2018
A company was fined $9,000 in court on Wednesday (Nov 14), for fraudulent labelling of canned food. Skytime HupKee Foodstuff had sold cans of fried dace with salted black beans that were falsely labelled. Dace is a type of fish. In December 2017, the Agri-Food & Veterinary Authority of Singapore (AVA) received feedback that Skytime HupKee Foodstuff was suspected to have sold canned fried dace with salted black beans that were intentionally mislabelled with an "LRB" brand label.

Singapore works to tackle threats to food supply The Straits Times 11th Nov 2018
Rice plants stand in rows of pots, some stained yellow with fungus infections, others wilting after days without water. Before The Sunday Times entered the greenhouse, rice researcher Rapee Heebkaew handed over white lab coats and plastic bags to place over shoes. "Wear this," she said. "You'll be fine from whatever's in there, but we need to protect the rice plants from you." This is the Singapore greenhouse of Germany's pharmaceutical and life sciences giant Bayer, where Ms Heebkaew develops ways to make rice more resistant to rice blast fungus, a devastating infection that annually destroys so much rice that could have fed millions, and will only spread and worsen with climate change.

Thailand

New rubber price subsidy is 'unfair', says RNRF Bangkok Post 29th Nov 2018
The Rubber Network Council and Rubber Farmers Institute of Thailand (RNRF) is opposing the cabinet's resolution to implement a new rubber price subsidy programme, saying the decision is unfair to over 8 million rubber farm workers who won't benefit from the subsidy.

Guideline prices for high-value lumber prioritised Bangkok Post 29th Nov 2018
The Commerce Ministry is prioritising setting guideline prices for high-value or economic trees to be used as collateral under the Secured Transactions Act.

Durian quality scheme gets growth boost Bangkok Post 27th Nov 2018
A project to improve the quality of durian will be expanded to cover Pattani and Narathiwat as well as Yala in the far South, with a projected yield of 3,000 tonnes for export to China next year.

Rubber farms stretched as US-China trade war saps demand Bangkok Post 25th Nov 2018
The rubber trade is at a crossroads as a bitter dispute between the world's two biggest economies ricochets across Southeast Asia with unexpected consequences. The price of rubber has slumped 20% since June, as those same tariffs bite hard on demand from factories in China -- the market for more than half its latex exports.

GSB app targets farmers The Nation 14th Nov 2018
The Finance Ministry is to give struggling senior citizens rental subsidies and the Government Savings Bank (GSB) is also planning support farmers via a phone application. Narumon Pinyosinwat, vice finance minister, said on Wednesday that the ministry was considering offering rental grants for senior citizens whose children do not take care of them and have no home. The financial support would be the latest grant to support the poor under the state welfare card. Currently, the government gives monthly financial support to 11.4 million people, including 3.9 million senior citizens. Chatchai Payuhanaveechai, GSB president, also said that the bank has developed the 020 E-Commerce Platform app. This was part of the bank's efforts to assist farmers to access markets directly.

Rice export competition tightens Bangkok Post 10th Nov 2018
Thailand's rice exporters can expect fiercer competition next year as major buying nations reduce purchases and rice-exporting countries beef up their shipments. Charoen Laothammatas, president of the Thai Rice Exporters Association, said India is forecast to retain leadership in global rice exports in 2019, followed by Thailand, Vietnam, Pakistan, Myanmar and the US. China, he said, is also expected to become a key player in the world rice market in the year to come, given the mainland's massive stockpiles.

Bayer offers 20% yield boost for (Northeast ) rice farmers The Nation 8th Nov 2018
“We expect an increase of at least 20 per cent in the yield of rice farming from our integrated solution, which incorporates agricultural training, financial training, chemical solutions, and technological innovations,” Connie Kang, global smallholder farming manager for Southeast Asia under the crop science division of Bayer Thai Co., Ltd., said in an exclusive interview with The Nation. The Northeast region has some 2.4 million smallholder farmers, making up as much as 65 per cent of the small-holder farmers in the country, and covering 2 million hectares. The average rice production in Thailand is at 2.8 tonnes per hectare, but the Northeast produces an average of only 2.2 tonnes, Kang said. “We do not only want to provide one or two chemical solutions to the farmers without also offering additional training on how to efficiently manage their farms and how to best apply these chemical solutions,” she said.

Rice thefts worry farmers amid high prices Bangkok Post 7th Nov 2018
Farmers are putting up their guard against rice thefts after several cases have been reported this year in the wake of high prices..

Thailand secures orders for more than 300,000 tons of rice National News Bureau of Thailand 4th Dec 2018
China and the Philippines have together placed orders for over 300,000 tons of Thai rice to the benefit of end of year growers. Department of Foreign Trade (DFT) Director-General Adul Chotinisakorn says that 100,000 tons of newly grown 5% white rice will be sent to COFCO in China, which previously purchased six batches of Thai rice. Another 80,000 tons of 25% white rice is to be delivered to the Philippines’ government in December.

Commerce Ministry promotes dairy products export under FTA dealings National News Bureau of Thailand 3rd Dec 2018
The Ministry of Commerce is encouraging farmers and dairy manufacturers to penetrate export markets under FTA dealings. Commerce Minister Sonthirat Sonthijirawong said the Ministry of Commerce has signed an agreement with the Department of Trade Negotiations, the Department of Livestock Development, the Food Innopolis project, the Diary Cooperatives Association of Thailand, and Thammasat Consulting Networking and Coaching Center, to prepare Thai dairy industry for the opening of FTAs between Thailand and Australia, and between Thailand and New Zealand.

Agribusiness slow to adopt tech, far from 4.0 Bangkok Post 27th Nov 2018
Only 3% of the agricultural and food processing industry is considered part of the digitally-focused 4.0 era, despite being a crucial component of the economy and employing 15 million people, according to the University of the Thai Chamber of Commerce (UTCC). Most of them are still considered 2.0 or 1.0 based on their lack of adoption and use of modern technologies, said UTCC director Saowanee Thairoongroj.

Thailand, Japan break bread Bangkok Post 13th Nov 2018
Thai and Japanese governments are expected to soon launch the Mie-Thailand Innovation Centre for the local food industry, aiming to develop and increase value of Thai products. Japan is interested in R&D for Thai rice and will use this new centre to cooperate with the National Food Institute in Bangkok, which is located adjacent to the new centre.

Excise wants levy on salty, fatty ingredients Bangkok Post 9th Nov 2018
The Excise Department plans to tax ingredients that are sources of salt as part of efforts to impose levies against products that are harmful to health, its chief says. Processed foods will not be taxed because it would not comply with the tax fairness principle if frozen foods are subject to the tax while the same foods freshly cooked by vendors are exempt, said Patchara Anuntasilpa, director-general of the Excise Department.

Labor Minister discusses measures to address labor shortage in fishery sector National News Bureau of Thailand 8th Nov 2018
The Labor Minister, Pol. Gen. Adul Sangsingkeo, and officials from related agencies had a meeting on Thursday to follow up on measures to address the labor shortage in the fishery sector of Thailand. The meeting was attended by officials from the Ministry of Labor, the Ministry of Interior, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Public Health, the Royal Thai Police, and the National Fisheries Association of Thailand. The participants discussed operational guidelines and additional measures, ensuring that their work will progress smoothly.

Vietnam

Unrestricted foreign ownership at Sabeco approved Viet Nam News 5th Dec 2018
The Saigon Beer – Alcohol Beverage Corporation (Sabeco) early this week announced that it received an official letter from the State Securities Commission dated Monday approving unrestricted foreign ownership at the largest beverage company in Việt Nam. Accordingly, the foreign ownership cap of 49 per cent at Sabeco would be removed and the maximum rate of foreign ownership would be 100 per cent, the company said.

Durian prices in HCM City remain high despite oversupply Viet Nam News 5th Dec 2018
For the last few days, the price of off-season durian in the Mekong (Cửu Long) Delta has declined sharply as traders have stopped purchasing the fruit to export to the Chinese market, according to reports in local newspapers.

Coffee industry needs private-public partnerships Viet Nam News 5th Dec 2018
Public-private partnerships, better use of technology, and improved value-chain linkages are needed to ensure the sustainable development of the coffee industry, experts said at a meeting yesterday (Dec 4) in HCM City.

City improves food security, produce quality Viet Nam News 1st Dec 2018
HCM City is seeking to improve the traceability of agricultural produce sold through both modern and traditional retail channels in an effort to improve food safety. The use of high technology is seen as the major solution to tackle problems in food security and produce quality.

US pushes food exports to Việt Nam Viet Nam News 30th Nov 2018
The US Mission believed in building a fruitful partnership with Việt Nam that offered new and sustainable opportunities for both US and Vietnamese food companies.The event drew the participation of 15 US enterprises to advertise food and beverage products as well as seek Vietnamese importers.

Vietnamese rice exports up, China biggest market Bangkok Post 29th Nov 2018
Vietnam's rice exports are expected to rise 5.7% this year to 6.15 million metric tonnes, the Ministry of Industry and Trade said on Thursday. China remains Vietnam's largest rice export market this year, accounting for 24.1% of the total shipments in the January-October period, the ministry said.

VN’s food safety demand an opportunity Viet Nam News 29th Nov 2018
Increasing demand for safe and traceable foods is throwing up plenty of opportunities for food producers, the 7th IFC International Food Safety Forum heard in HCM City on Wednesday.

Food Hotel Hanoi 2018 opens Viet Nam News 28th Nov 2018
The Food & Hotel Hanoi 2018 opened its doors on Wednesday at the International Centre of Exhibition, with more than 150 businesses from 13 countries and territories including those from the US, Spain, Singapore, Italy, Malaysia, Poland, China and Thailand. The three-day event is showcasing food, beverage and related products. The exhibition will also display equipment for the food, beverage, restaurant and hotel industries.

TCP doubling down with Vietnam play Bangkok Post 26th Nov 2018
TCP Group, the maker and distributor of Krating Daeng, Sponsor, Mansome and Puriku drinks, as well as Sun Snacks, vows to double investment in Vietnam to 4 billion baht during 2019-21.

Coffee Day to open in Đắk Nông Viet Nam News 26th Nov 2018
The second Vietnamese Coffee Day will run from December 9 to 11 in Gia Nghĩa Town, Đắk Nông Province to boost the sustainable development of the coffee industry and increase the value of coffee products.

Bến Tre hosts agriculture conference Viet Nam News 24th Nov 2018
A total of 309 contracts and MoUs were signed between enterprises from 35 provinces and cities at a conference to promote agricultural production and consumption which opened in the Mekong Delta province of Bến Tre on Thursday.

Việt Nam needs to restructure cashew production Viet Nam News 21st Nov 2018
Việt Nam’s cashew industry would need to restructure production and processing in order to ensure enough raw materials for sustainable development, according to experts.

Technology key to agricultural production: forum Viet Nam News 15th Nov 2018
The use of technology is considered one of the most important factors to improve the yields and quality of agricultural products and enable them to join the global value chain, delegates heard at a forum in HCM City on Wednesday.

National food safety information database to be set up vietnamnews.vn 14th Nov 2018
To tackle rampant food safety issues in Việt Nam, a national information database with real-time updates will be set up, according to Deputy Prime Minister Vũ Đức Đam. Deputy PM Đam said the database must be as user-friendly as possible so that “any farmer or restaurant can post information regarding their products on the database with little effort.” “Meanwhile, consumers will be able to easily share information on products or producers that violate food safety regulations. In the future, consumers could just open their phone to know the locations of trusted restaurants near them, or trace the origins of the vegetables they want to buy,” Deputy PM Đam said.

Mexico, Việt Nam to co-operate on agricultural research vietnamnews.vn 14th Nov 2018
Mexico and Việt Nam committed to co-operating in the agricultural sector as the National Institute of Forestry, Agriculture and Livestock Investigations (INIFAP) of Mexico and the Việt Nam Academy of Agricultural Sciences (VAAS) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on Wednesday in Hà Nội. Under the agreement, INIFAP and VAAS will facilitate dialogue to identify and execute projects in areas of interest to both parties, such as selection of seeds through biotechnology, research of rice and corn seeds and management of nutrition in soil.

3% annual growth for agriculture by 2020: Ministry vietnamnews.vn 12th Nov 2018
Việt Nam’s agriculture sector is aiming for annual growth of a minimum 3 per cent, with labour productivity improving 3.5 per cent a year by 2020, said agriculture deputy minister Hà Công Tuấn. The ministry has also set a goal of having 15,000 effective agriculture co-operatives, increasing the rural population’s income by 1.8 times compared to 2015 and half of communes meeting ‘new rural’ criteria, deputy minister Tuấn said during a conference reviewing the agriculture restructuring plan held in Hà Nội late last week.

Multi-billion USD irrigation plan approved for Central Highlands Voice of Vietnam 12th Nov 2018
Of the investment, over VND93 trillion will be spent on water supply, nearly VND7.6 trillion on water drainage and flood prevention, and VND1.3 trillion on non-construction solutions. The capital will be sourced from annual allocation of the State budget, investment from economic sectors and contributions of residents in target areas. The irrigation master plan aims to enhance the region’s capacity to adapt to climate change, serve agricultural restructuring, modernise the region’s irrigation systems and ensure water supply for agricultural and industrial production, and residents’ daily life.

Agriculture sector targets 3 pct annual growth by 2020 Viet Nam Plus 12th Nov 2018
Vietnam’s agriculture sector is aiming for annual growth of a minimum 3 percent, with labour productivity improving 3.5 percent a year by 2020, said Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Ha Cong Tuan.

Experts make policy recommendations to foster Agriculture 4.0 Voice of Vietnam 10th Nov 2018
Addressing the event, CIEM Deputy Director Phan Duc Hieu said that the Fourth Industrial Revolution (Industry 4.0) has increased efficiency in agriculture for many countries. In Vietnam, several agribusinesses have applied digital technologies in their production stages, from seedling and cultivation to harvest and distribution, he said. Though Industry 4.0 helps reduce labour intensity and improve productivity for the sector, few companies have made proper use of the technology, he noted, emphasising the need to formulate policies to foster better high-tech approaches amongst agribusinesses. Nguyen Thi Luyen, head of the CIEM’s Department of Economic Institution, mentioned the significance of agriculture in the country’s economic growth, saying the sector has enjoyed an increasing trade surplus, which has exceeded US$8 billion so far this year, not to mention providing 40% of the nation’s total employment.

Restructuring helps form three key categories of agricultural products vietnamnews.vn 8th Nov 2018
One of the main achievements of Việt Nam’s agricultural restructuring plan over the last five years is the formation of three product categories – national key products, local key products and those under the programme “one village, one product”. National key agricultural products are those with an export value of at least US$1 billion each. Local key products are those that make up a major proportion of agricultural production and have great potential for expansion and technological application. The “one village, one product” programme focuses on special local products to ensure they are preserved and promoted.

Online market for agricultural products launched Viet Nam News 7th Nov 2018
The website www.gcaeco.vn, an online marketplace for agricultural products and clean food, was officially launched in Hà Nội on Wednesday as part of the Global Clean Agriculture (GCA) project.

Long An to host third Việt Nam rice festival Viet Nam News 7th Nov 2018
The third Việt Nam Rice Festival to be held in the southern province of Long An from December 18 to 24 will seek to honour and promote Vietnamese rice in the global market, organisers said yesterday.

Sales of prepared food sales increase, convenience store chains expand Vietnam Net Bridge 28th Nov 2018
Consumers are spending more money on food and drinks, especially prepared foods, including dairy products, instant noodles and sausages.

Vietnam’s exporters sell more fruit thanks to blockchain apps Vietnam Net Bridge 27th Nov 2018
Utilizing blockchain to improve the traceability of farm produce is expected to be a good solution to boost fruit exports.

Roundtable shows aquaculture industry way forward Vietnam News 23rd Nov 2018
Developing concentrated aquaculture areas, strengthening linkages among stakeholders, optimising costs, increasing the use of technology, and building brands are among the measures that would add value to the aquaculture sector, according to the Directorate of Fisheries.

Việt Nam spends $1.43 billion on vegetables and fruits import vietnamnews.vn 14th Nov 2018
Việt Nam imported fruit and vegetables worth US$1.43 billion in the first 10 months of this year, a year-on-year increase of 13.1 per cent, according to statistics of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD). Thailand was the largest import market, accounting for 43.3 per cent of the total value, followed by China with 23.1 per cent, and the remainder mostly from Australia, South Korea and the US.

City cracks down on food-safety violators Vietnam News 8th Nov 2018
The HCM City Food Safety Management Board has set up 11 teams to manage food safety at inter-district levels and two others at Hóc Môn and Bình Điền wholesale markets to resolve violations.

Enterprises fined for violating food safety regulations Vietnam News 6th Nov 2018
The Việt Nam Food Administration (VFA) under the Ministry of Health has fined two dozen companies for violating food safety and hygiene regulations.