Food & Agriculture Update: July 3, 2019

Food & Agriculture Update | July 3, 2019
Authors: Sunita Kapoor, Hai Pham, Aishwarya Murthy and Rachel Forrest
 
LOOKING AHEAD
 
 

August 5-9, Vietnam: Senior Officials Meeting for AMAF

October 7-10, Brunei: 2019 Business Mission to the 41st AMAF
The Council seeks to lead a delegation of US companies in the Food & Agriculture sector to officially participate in the 41st ASEAN Ministerial Meeting on Agriculture and Forestry (AMAF) in Brunei on October 7-10, 2019. For more information or to express interest, please contact Sunita Kapoor at skapoor@usasean.org.

November/December 2019: 2019 Food & Agriculture Industry Mission to Indonesia

Others: Potential roundtables on Joint Antimicrobial Resistance (Human and Animal); workshops on Low Level Presence; roundtable with the Singapore Food Agency
 
THE COUNCIL'S TAKE
 
 

African Swine Fever Hits Vietnam Pig Industry
African Swine Fever (ASF) is continuing to spread across Vietnam despite ongoing efforts by the Vietnamese Government to contain it. The virus was first detected in Vietnam on February 19, 2019, and as of June 2019 it has spread to 58 out of 63 municipalities and provinces throughout the country. This has since led to the culling of 2.6 million pigs, which accounted for nearly 9.4% of the country's total swine population. It is important to note that not all culled pigs were infected, but any herds surrounding ASF-infected pigs were also culled as a precautionary measure. Vietnam's Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) estimates that losses attributed to ASF are equivalent to approximately VND 3.6 trillion (US$154.8 million). The medium and long-term economic and social impacts of ASF will depend on the severity of the epidemic, the policy response, and Vietnam's animal disease control capacity. Although there is no known human health risk currently, ASF has already started to significantly influence consumer purchasing behavior. Additionally, the complexity and severe gaps in knowledge about the virus mean that it may take Vietnam a significant amount of time to contain the disease and fully repopulate its swine herds. Since the detection of the first ASF outbreak, MARD has issued many guidelines and instructions to bring attention to ASF and the need for more drastic and serious epidemic control activities. The key messages they have shared so far include:

  • Prevention as the main defense against ASF due to the lack of viability of vaccines or drugs
  • Biosecurity as the only weapon to prevent the spread of ASF
  • All aspects of the government and agricultural community must be involved in the fight against ASF

The Vietnamese government has also enlisted the help of the police and army to fight ASF outbreaks and has stated that veterinary services at all levels and capacities need to be strengthened. For further information on the issue please refer to the following link here, or contact Sunita Kapoor (skapoor@usasean.org) if you have any questions.

Increasing Malnutrition Rates Among Children in the Philippines
According to the latest Situational Analysis on the Children of the Philippines, UNICEF found that the poverty incidence among children is significantly higher than it is for the population as a whole and that most of the important trends based on key indicators for child welfare have been worsening. As of the last census, taken in 2015, while the overall poverty incidence in the Philippines was 21.6%, nearly 31.4% Filipino children lived below the basic needs poverty line. In terms of key indicators for child welfare, the Philippines saw a rise in the rate of child stunting and the prevalence of low weight for age (i.e. underweight) for children from 2013 to 2015. Between these years, the rate of child stunting increased from 30% to 33.4% while the prevalence of children that were underweight increased from 20% to 21.5%. of underweight has also been observed, from 20% in 2013 to 21.5% in 2015. Such increases are often attributed to a lack of access to resources and services, especially for teenaged mothers. In general, there is a strong correlation between the increasing rate of childbirths by teenaged mothers and stunting from severe child malnutrition. The worsening of these child welfare indicators could indicate the beginning of a long-term trend that would negatively affect the Philippines' future workforce.

Indonesia to Cull 3 Million Chickens In Order to Boost Prices
Within the last several years, Indonesia has been producing higher quantities of chicken meat than it consumes. According to data from the Ministry of Agriculture, last year Indonesia produced 3.6 million tonnes of chicken meat but only consumed 3.1 million tonnes, putting significant pressure on prices. The Director of Breeding and Livestock Production from the Ministry of Agriculture estimated that approximately 3 million chickens would have to be culled over a two-week period in order to increase plunging prices. Chicken farmers have voiced concerns for months about the fact that live bird prices have been below the government floor price and cost of production. However, according to the Ministry of Agriculture, the average price of live birds in Indonesia was 20,216 rupiah (US$1.43) per kilogram on June 25, compared to the government floor price of 18,000 (US$1.27) rupiah per kilogram. Additionally, in 2016 the Ministry of Agriculture issued Regulation 61/2015, which aims to stem the poultry industry's rapid and unprofitable growth by better regulating business competition and supply and demand in the industry. However, with the consistent overproduction in the poultry industry, more effective regulation may be required. The poultry industry is a key sector for the national economy of Indonesia, supplying approximately 65% of the country's animal protein and employing 10% of the national labor force.

Philippine Agriculture Secretary Resigns
On June 27, Philippine Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol submitted his resignation to President Rodrigo Duterte, citing a perceived a lack of trust from the President as his reason. Piñol’s resignation comes amid reports that Duterte has not been satisfied with his performance as Agriculture Secretary. Although President Duterte has not officially accepted Piñol’s resignation and is waiting for the input of the Bangsamoro Interim Chief Minister Murad Ebrahim, the Duterte has expressed interest in Secretary Piñol serving as the Secretary of the Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA). Consequently, Duterte is likely accept the resignation to appoint him as such. In Secretary Piñol’s resignation letter, he accepted a reassignment to any agency, including MinDA. Duterte especially favors Piñol for the role of MinDA Secretary because the latter is from that region.

Piñol has recommended either of his three Undersecretaries to replace him, describing his Undersecretaries Waldo Carpio (Undersecretary for Special Concerns and Legislative Liaison Officer), Ariel Cayanan (Undersecretary for Operations), and Francisco Villano (Undersecretary-designate for Finance) as being well qualified and loyal. Piñol has stated that he hopes that President Duterte will consider their familiarity with ongoing Department of Agriculture programs a positive, and something that would allow for a smooth transition process. Early this week, Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez hinted that Duterte will most likely choose a candidate who is “intimately familiar” with the agriculture sector and has a successful track record as Piñol’s successor. It is expected that the new Agriculture Secretary will maintain programs initiated by Piñol and work closely with Duterte to meet the administration’s goals for the agriculture sector ahead of the next election in 2022.

Malaysia Implements a New Sugar Tax
On July 1, the Government of Malaysia implemented its new sugar tax, which taxes the import and manufacturing of packaged sugary beverages. The tax itself will affect soft drinks with 5g/100ml of added sugar, as well as fruit and vegetable-based drinks containing more than 12g/100ml of sugar, at a rate of 40 sen per liter. The tax will provide a 2-month transitional period to allow for businesses to adjust.

The tax is intended to support Malaysia’s initiatives towards achieving improved nation-wide health. Malaysia is reported to house the largest population suffering from diabetes in Asia, as well as the largest proportion of obese and overweight population in Asia. The tax may additionally provide social benefits as the revenue will be allotted to provide free and healthy breakfast programs for students. According to the tax standard, substantial government revenue will not be generated through the tax if corporations adjust products, and officials argue that the tax will instead provide greater holistic benefits to society through the minimization of medical costs related to the over consumption of sugar.

The implementation of this sugar tax by the Government of Malaysia follows the regional trend seen in recent years by its neighbors. Just last year, the Philippine Government implemented a tax on sugar-sweetened beverages as part of its TRAIN 1 economic reform. In Vietnam, the Ministry of Finance has also been proposing a special consumption tax on sugar-sweetened beverages. These taxes, if not structured with careful consideration, may have unintended on trade as well as local industries. It remains to be seen how beverage companies in Malaysia will adjust and how prices of soft drinks will ultimately be affected.

 
ADVOCACY UPDATE
 
 

Data Governance Sub-Committee policy paper on "Key Elements for a Data-Driven Economy"
The Council's Data Governance Sub-Committee is seeking sectoral input from Food & Agriculture companies on its cross-sectoral policy paper on: "Key Elements for a Data-Driven Economy" by July 4 SGT. The policy paper aims to provide a set of regional and in-country guiding principles on data governance in ASEAN. A draft of the policy paper may be accessed here. If you have input on why cross border data flows matter for your industry, or for questions, please contact Jamie Lim at jlim@usasean.org.

US-ABC, EU-ABC, and CropLife Asia Hold ASEAN Safe, Nutritious Food PPP Workshop in Vietnam, June 26, 2019
The Council, in partnership with CropLife Asia and the EU-ASEAN Business Council (EU-ABC) jointly conducted a workshop in Hanoi last week with national, regional and international food value chain stakeholders that signaled the second installment of the ASEAN Safe, Nutritious Food PPP Initiative. The three organizations have joined forces to form this new Alliance to lead a discussion around factors supporting a safe and nutritious supply of food in the region as well as help foster greater partnership between public and private sectors across the food value chain.

The initiative’s second national workshop, which was held in Hanoi, brought together more than 50 Vietnam Government officials and other national food chain stakeholders with international and regional industry experts for a ‘farm-to-fork’ dialogue. The Initiative’s first national workshop was held in Bangkok on March 25, alongside the 2019 Responsible Business Forum on Food & Agriculture.

The workshop included a series of panels on best-practices where ‘successes and setbacks’ in the various components that make up the food value chain in Vietnam were discussed. This was followed by an interactive session where public and private sector stakeholders highlighted areas within the safe and nutritious food supply chain where greater partnership would be beneficial. The specific workshop panels included:

  • Vietnam’s Farmers’ Ability to Grow Safe and Nutritious Food
  • Moving Safe, Nutritious Food in Vietnam and
  • Vietnam Consumer Awareness & Actions around Safe and Nutritious Food

The next national workshop planned by the Alliance is tentatively scheduled for Indonesia in Q4 2019. For more information, please contact Sunita Kapoor (skapoor@usasean.org).

2019 Food & Agriculture Industry Mission to Vietnam, June 27-28, 2019
Last week the Council conducted its third Food & Agriculture Industry Mission to Vietnam. The mission focused on establishing productive dialogues with key agricultural and Vietnam government officials and introducing them to the ways in which our members could support their national goals, especially if constraints on business expansion are addressed. We view the mission as the start of an engagement process and not a one-off event. To maximize the value of the mission, Council staff are available to support members in conducting follow up efforts. For questions or further information, please contact Sunita Kapoor (skapoor@usasean.org).

 
IN THIS UPDATE
 
 
Regional Affairs
ASF spread ‘being monitored’
China’s intrusion worsens fish catch decline

ASEAN
Sar Kheng orders Prey Lang forest protection
ASEAN meeting reports on global sugar deficit and opportunities for SE Asian countries

Brunei
Brunei agriculture output up 13% in 2018; gov't pledges more farmland and support
More than 7,000 hectares of farm land available for development through DAA

Cambodia
Phase three of social and economic land allocation to aid 18,000 poor families
BirdLife, Ratanakkiri provincial authorities meet VN firm over wildlife conservation
AMRU inks $15M deal with International Finance Corp
Paddy fields in Battambang rescued from drought , National, Phnom Penh Post
Tanncam buys 65% Vibe stake

Indonesia
Grab helps agritech start-ups to benefit from its ecosystem
Indonesia's palm oil exports to India losing out to Malaysia
Dried unhulled, medium rice prices climb in June: statistics bureau
Sabah to rely on Filipinos, Indonesians
No solution found for drop in chicken meat price
Sinar Mas buys palm oil from other plantations

Laos
Philippines bans pork, products from ASF-hit Laos
Pig imports from Laos banned over swine fever fear

Malaysia
Kundasang to be net exporter of high value vegetables
Salahuddin: 40,000 fishermen given aid
Durian season gives Pendang villagers chance to generate more income
Palm oil posts its longest quarterly slump on record
Superfruits to be planted in Balik Pulau
Malaysia to further spearhead global halal ecosystem
Future of agro sector rests on youths
Sugar tax kicks off today
Customs: Two-month transition period as sugar tax comes into effect
Many to drink less soda

Myanmar
New Livestock Breeding Zones Will Improve Local Dairy Industry Production
In Rebuff to UN, KIO Says Opium Cultivation Growing Under Army ‘Protection’
Japanese Firm to Help Build Industrial Zone for Agricultural Goods in Yangon

Philippines
Duterte inclined to appoint Piñol as Mindanao Dev't Authority chief
Jollibee Foods to tap debt market for P17.2-B capex
Century Tuna maker eyes offering more products
Agriculture sector insider likely to replace Piñol
Solon wants farmers to adopt aeroponics
DA orders temporary ban of pigs, processed meat from Laos, North Korea
PHL stands pat on SSG for instant coffee imports
Jollibee founder eyes 50-50 revenue split between local, foreign businesses
No action yet on Department of Agriculture chief’s quit bid
EO aims to accelerate farmers’ rainwater harvesting
Piñol resigns as agriculture secretary
EWS seeks to sustain stronghold of Philippine seed industry
PH tightens importation of plant-based feeds from ASF-hit nations

Singapore
Technology fuels food industry growth
Warming to slash equivalent of 80 million jobs by 2030: UN

Thailand
41% of sampled fruits, vegetables contaminated
FDA defends weed ad rules
Retailers enlisted to aid palm growers
Toxic inaction on farm chemicals
'Panama disease' outbreak reported
Thai fruit exports in first 4 months of 2019 grows by more than 150%
Palming off the problem
Tuna exports on course despite baht
Exporters call for long-term rice vision

Vietnam
Big pork shortage looms over Việt Nam
Long An seeks rapid adoption of advanced rice farming techniques
Agriculture exporters suffer as China rules tighten
Wood exports bring Vietnam nearly $5 billion in H1
Vietnam's central region faces serious drought
Vietnam's H1 coffee exports fall 10.6%, rice down 2.9%
Prompt actions urged to control invasive alien species
Kiên Giang widens efficient rice farming, aquaculture models
Việt Nam’s agricultural sector to face fierce competition
Pork imports spike, Vietnam's livestock industry under pressure
Vietnam takes actions to have EC yellow card removed
Vietnam’s fruit granary fails in home market
MARD plans to develop more quality plant and animal breeds
African swine fever hits industrial farms in Vietnam, 2.8 million pigs culled
Việt Nam develops forestry industry, explores collaboration with US
 
ARTICLE CLIPS
 
 
Regional Affairs

ASF spread ‘being monitored’ Phnom Penh Post 28th Jun 2019
A government animal health official is monitoring the possible spread of African swine fever into new provinces bordering Vietnam. This follows an outbreak in Ratanakkiri in March, which was hoped had been kept under control. Ri Davin, the head of the Tbong Khmum provincial Department of Agriculture’s Animal Health and Production Office, told The Post on Wednesday that he hadn’t received formal confirmation that the disease had been detected in the province. However, he said Phannara had earlier in the month investigated reports of a few families whose pigs had died and said it was later heard that the pigs had been bought from O’Reang-ou district to Kampong Cham. The first outbreak of African swine fever took hold on March 22 in O’Yadav district in Ratanakkiri province. To prevent the disease spreading, the Prey Veng provincial Agriculture Department has sprayed some two tonnes of disinfectant since the beginning of May.

China’s intrusion worsens fish catch decline – watchdog philstar.com 26th Jun 2019
An environmental advocacy group has warned that local fisheries production might not recover soon with President Duterte’s stand allowing China to continue fishing within Philippine territorial waters. “Is he not worried that soon there is nothing to fish and no fish for the constituents? It sends the signal that anyone can fish and poach without consequences,” Oceana Philippines vice president Gloria Ramos told The STAR yesterday, referring to Duterte.“That is an example of illegal, unregulated and unreported fishing, which causes displacement of fisherfolk and stocks to decline and which we committed as a country to fight under international conventions and the Fisheries Code as amended,” she added.. Duterte on Monday night said it would be difficult to stop China from fishing in the country’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ) under the United Nations Convention on Law of the Sea. “I don’t think that China would do that. Why? Because we’re friends. And they are of the same view that that should not result in any bloody confrontation,” Duterte said.

ASEAN

Sar Kheng orders Prey Lang forest protection Phnom Penh Post 28th Jun 2019
Interior Minister Sar Kheng urged authorities on Thursday to protect Prey Lang forest, saying it is the largest remaining woodland in mainland Southeast Asia, and that amendments to laws that protect natural resources would soon be finalised. “If we protect the forest, it will be great for our natural resources.” Sar Kheng said he was tasked with reforming the law on the protection of natural resources some 10 years ago by Prime Minister Hun Sen. The minister also instructed provincial authorities to educate residents not to log timber in Thailand because the Thai authorities have strict forest protection laws. He said their laws allowed authorities to shoot to kill without waiting for court approval. The Ministry of Interior had discussed the matter with Thailand, Sar Kheng said, asking it not to kill any Cambodian people, but he said his Thai counterparts insisted that that is their law and requested Cambodia to explain the facts to its citizens.

ASEAN meeting reports on global sugar deficit and opportunities for SE Asian countries The Thaiger 18th Jun 2019
The ASEAN Sugar Alliance says there will be a global sugar deficit of about 2.5 million tonnes in 2019-20, and prices are expected to firm following a number of years of falling prices and surplus stocks. The prediction was reported at the fourth meeting of the ASEAN Sugar Alliance in Ho Chi Minh City yesterday. Market analyst, futures trading and risk manager at Thailand’s MITR Phol Sugar Corp, Sasathorn Sanguandeekul, says that a deficit would occur this year mostly due to a reduction in output in major sugar producing countries, including Thailand. “In 2019-20 with the expectation of reduction in Thailand and India, Asia should have a deficit of around 9.5 million tonnes.”

Brunei

Brunei agriculture output up 13% in 2018; gov't pledges more farmland and support Biz Brunei 28th Jun 2019
Brunei’s gross agriculture output has increased by $56.65 million to $436.30 million last year on the back of growing amounts of livestock, with the government pledging to open up more farmland and support towards developing the industry further. Statistics on the Sultanate’s agricultural output were released yesterday at a Hari Raya celebration organised by the Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Foundation (YSHHB), with His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam highlighting that more than 300 hectares of land had been developed by new farmers under a special pilot project introduced in 2016. Unadjusted for inflation, Brunei’s gross agricultural output last year is the highest recorded by DAA. Brunei is now self-sufficient in chicken meat and eggs and has over 96% self-sufficiency in young coconuts, calamansi, jackfruit, soursop, green beans, mustards, cucumbers, spinach and bitter gourd.

More than 7,000 hectares of farm land available for development through DAA The Scoop 28th Jun 2019
Three hundred hectares of government-owned agricultural land have been given out to emerging farmers and “agripreneurs” over the past two years as part of state efforts to fuel growth of the agriculture industry. On Thursday, His Majesty Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah said the pilot programme under the Department of Agriculture and Agrifood (DAA) was aimed at boosting primary sector growth, offering heavily subsidised land rental to encourage Bruneians to take up farming and is open to foreigners as well. Since the scheme was introduced in 2016, 46 people, including 16 youths, have been given farmland, where rental rates start as low as $5 per hectare/year for sub-sectors such as livestock farming and go up to $25 per hectare/year for vegetable and fruit farming.

Cambodia

Phase three of social and economic land allocation to aid 18,000 poor families Phnom Penh Post 1st Jul 2019
The government is due to launch the Land Allocation for Social and Economic Development Project III (Lased III) from 2020-2025 to the tune of $60 to $90 million. The land allocation is aimed at alleviating poverty in five northeastern provinces, easing the hardships of the homeless, and providing 18,000 families with agricultural land, said Dok Doma, the director of Lased II. Speaking to The Post on Sunday, he said: “The nationwide poverty rate remains at 10 per cent, so we aim to reduce it further. The project is aimed at poor people who have no land. If they don’t have land, we will allocate them housing and agricultural land so they can farm and build houses.”

BirdLife, Ratanakkiri provincial authorities meet VN firm over wildlife conservation Phnom Penh Post 1st Jul 2019
Ratanakkiri provincial authorities and BirdLife International Cambodia Programme have urged Hoang Anh Lumphat Co Ltd to preserve the habitat of endangered fauna species in a protected area and discontinue forest clearing. Hoang Anh Lumphat operates on an economic land concession (ELC) within Ratanakkiri province’s Lumphat Wildlife Sanctuary. The call was made during a meeting on Friday at the provincial hall. It was led by provincial deputy governor Yim Panh and attended by representatives from the relevant provincial departments, the company and BirdLife which is an NGO. BirdLife manager Bou Vorsak said the meeting was aimed at boosting the company’s participation in conservation efforts aimed at endangered animal habitats present in the wildlife sanctuary.

AMRU inks $15M deal with International Finance Corp Phnom Penh Post 28th Jun 2019
Amru Rice (Cambodia) Co Ltd, a local rice exporter and leading organic paddy producer, signed a more than $15 million loan agreement with the International Finance Corporation on Wednesday. The firm plans to expand its organic milled rice exports to 50,000 tonnes a year, its CEO Song Saran said. Saran told The Post on Thursday that the loan would be used to expand milled rice warehouses, drying silos, as well as to strengthen its packing standards, processing, quality and safety, and to increase capital to purchase paddy. Saran said the company plans to export 20,000 tonnes of organic milled rice to the EU, US, China and Hong Kong this year, and 40,000 to 50,000 tonnes next year. Data from the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries shows that in the first five months of this year, Cambodia’s rice exports reached over 250,000 tonnes – up 4.14 per cent year-on-year. Cambodia Rice Federation vice-president Hun Lak said total exports for this year will fall about five per cent due to tariffs imposed by the EU, despite a slight increase in the first five months.

Paddy fields in Battambang rescued from drought , National, Phnom Penh Post The Phnom Penh Post 26th Jun 2019
Officials said that the nearly 20,000ha of paddy fields in Battambang’s Sangke district that faced drought have been rescued, with parts of the province receiving some rain recently. Chhim Vichara, the director of the provincial agricultural department, said on Tuesday that although some 18,000ha of paddy fields in Sangke district had dried up last week, they had not died. The Sangke district paddy fields were rescued in time, and while other districts also lacked water, his department had not announced a drought alert, Vichara said. Provincial governor Nguon Ratanak said on Tuesday that paddy in the Sangke district fields had withered slightly, but there had been no reports of adverse effects after authorities released water into them and it had rained.

Tanncam buys 65% Vibe stake Phnom Penh Post 28th Jun 2019
Tanncam Investment Co Ltd, an Uzbek-owned investment group registered in Cambodia with holdings in the healthcare, e-commerce, consulting, and food and beverage sectors, has acquired a 65 per cent stake in Vibe Cafe Hospitality, a press release said on Monday. Vibe Cafe Hospitality is Cambodia’s leading vegan and health food restaurant group with two outlets in Phnom Penh and one in Siem Reap. In addition to vegan and health food restaurants, the group is a wholesale distributor of its proprietary products, a leading provider of rejuvenating cleansers and lunchboxes, and an innovator in unique health food and vegan recipes. As part of the agreement, Tanncam will inject additional capital to accelerate the franchising opportunity, according to Fountain.

Indonesia

Grab helps agritech start-ups to benefit from its ecosystem The Jakarta Post 1st Jul 2019
Singapore-based Grab has recently selected 10 early-stage start-ups to join its second Grab Ventures Velocity accelerator program, which focuses on companies that either help micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) or farmers in Southeast Asia. The start-ups, which are involved in the empowerment of MSMEs, include MyCash Online, PergiUmroh, Porter, Qoala and Tamasia while the remaining five, Treedots, GLife,  Eragano, Sayurbox and Tanihub are part of the emerging agriculture technology (agritech) industry that focuses on farmers. Three of the five agritech start-ups, Eragano, Sayurbox and Tanihub, are Indonesian companies while the remaining two are Singaporean. The ride-hailing giant’s focus on agritech indicates investor readiness to finance the industry beyond early-stage funding. In fact, TaniHub announced in June that investors had injected $10 million in Series A funds.

Indonesia's palm oil exports to India losing out to Malaysia The Jakarta Post 1st Jul 2019
Indonesia’s palm oil export volume has increased in the past two years, but exports to its biggest market, India, has been decreasing as it loses out to competition from Malaysia. Association of Palm Oil Producers (GAPKI) chairman Joko Supriyono said Indonesia needed to protect its market in India as it imports 20 percent of Indonesia’s palm oil. Indonesia is losing out to Malaysia because Malaysia enjoys lower tariffs. “As the issue is to do with tariffs, the industry cannot do anything. The government has to wake up and do something both for the short- and long-term. India is an important market and we have to protect our interests there,” Joko told The Jakarta Post on Sunday.

Dried unhulled, medium rice prices climb in June: statistics bureau Antara News 1st Jul 2019
The Central Bureau of Statistics has reported a hike in the prices of dried unhulled rice and medium-quality rice in the mill in June 2019 as compared to those in the previous month. "The price of dried unhulled rice at the farm level rose 4.50 percent, while the cost of medium rice in the mill rose 0.26 percent," the bureau's head Suharyanto informed the press here on Monday. Suharyanto elaborated that in June 2019, the average price of unhulled rice during the harvest period at the farm level was recorded at Rp4,552.00 per kilogram (kg), up 4.50 percent, while at the grinding level, it reached Rp4,656 per kg, or increasing 4.72 percent, as compared to that of unhulled rice of the same quality in the previous month. In the meantime, the average price of grinding unhulled rice at the farm level reached Rp5,246 per kg, a 1.43 percent increase, while at the milling level, the price was recorded at Rp5,361 per kg, or up 1.18 percent.

Sabah to rely on Filipinos, Indonesians The Star Online 1st Jul 2019
Sabah has no plans to change its policy on Indonesian and Filipino workers for its plantation and agriculture sectors and there is no necessity to look elsewhere, says state Agricul­ture and Food Industries Minister Datuk Junz Wong. He said that despite the labour shortage, the state would not be taking workers from other countries but to legalise Indonesian and Filipino workers to meet the needs of the plantation sector.He said he was unaware of any plans to bring in African workers to overcome the nation’s worker shortage in the plantation and agriculture sectors.

No solution found for drop in chicken meat price The Jakarta Post 26th Jun 2019
The government is yet to find a solution to the recent drop in the price of chicken meat that has seen poultry farmers cry foul. In the last two days the average farm price of chicken has been Rp 9,883 per kilogram, Trade Ministry Domestic Trade Director General Tjahya Widayanti said on Tuesday, adding that prices began to fall on May 30. “Based on information from independent [small-scale] farmers and poultry companies, the price drop was triggered by oversupply,” she said as quoted by kontan.co.id. Poultry farmers in Central Java said the farm price of chicken meat was Rp 8,000 (57 US cents) to Rp 10,000 per kilogram, roughly half the production cost of Rp 18,500 per kg.

Sinar Mas buys palm oil from other plantations The Jakarta Post 25th Jun 2019
Sinar Mas Agribusiness and Food downstream sustainability head Daniel Prakasa has said the company buys palm oil from other plantations to meet the raw materials needs of its food factories, in addition to palm oil from its own plantations. He said the company bought around 7 million tons of palm oil from plantations annually. “Around 60 percent of our palm oil for raw materials is purchased from people’s plantations.” Daniel told The Jakarta Post during a workshop in Medan last week, attended by 30 CPO suppliers and 18 sellers of palm oil fresh fruit bunches. Apart from operating in Indonesia, Sinar Mas Agribusiness and Food also expanded its business in China and India, she said, adding that the products included vegetable cooking oil and instant noodles.

Laos

Philippines bans pork, products from ASF-hit Laos The Manila Times Online 27th Jun 2019
The Department of Agriculture (DA) has ordered a temporary ban on the importation of pork and its products from Laos following reports that the Southeast Asian country tested positive for the presence of African Swine Fever (ASF). Based on Memorandum Order 15 issued on June 21 signed by Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol, the Philippines will not allow the entry of domestic and wild pigs and their products, including pork meat and semen from Laos. With the ban in place, the DA suspended the processing and evaluation of applications for and the issuance of sanitary and phytosanitary import clearances covering the affected commodities. All meat products brought in by the arriving passengers from the stated countries will also be confiscated, the DA said.

Pig imports from Laos banned over swine fever fear Bangkok Post 22nd Jun 2019
Restrictions in place for 90 days as Thailand seeks to avoid becoming next Asian destination for disease. All pigs and carcasses from Laos are being banned from entering Thailand amid growing concern about African swine fever. The Livestock Development Department said the ban would be in effect for 90 days initially.

Malaysia

Kundasang to be net exporter of high value vegetables - Junz Borneo Post Online 1st Jul 2019
Agriculture and Food Industry Minister Junz Wong said Kundasang would be transformed into a net exporter of high value crops and vegetables. He said his ministry, together with the farmers and all other relevant agencies would work out a plan on how to achieve this noble goal. Junz told reporters this after chairing a dialogue with vegetable farmers at Mini Dewan Kundasang which was jointly organised by the Kundasang community development leader’s unit headed by Siriman Basir and Sabah Agriculture Department.

Salahuddin: 40,000 fishermen given aid Rahimy Rahim 1st Jul 2019
Some 40,000 fishermen nationwide have benefitted from the Bantuan Sara Hidup (BSH) living allowance since January, says Agriculture and Agro-based Indus­tries Minister Datuk Salahud­din Ayub. He said the ministry was now further vetting and determining those who were genuinely qualified for the living allowance.We have almost completed it and we have given the allowance to some 40,000 fishermen so far,” he told reporters yesterday at the launch of direct sales from the landing centre to selected sales centres. Salahuddin said the government took measures to deal with the presence of middlemen between fishermen and consumers by setting up the Centre for Economic Growth (CEG), where consumers could make direct purchases, especially those in the rural areas. “We find that the price of fish, for instance, has been reduced by 30%. “At certain outlets, the price of fish and other basic necessities such as eggs, oil and other essential items stay affordable,” he said.

Durian season gives Pendang villagers chance to generate more income Borneo Post Online 1st Jul 2019
The durian season is here again… and while durian lovers rejoice, villagers in Pendang who are mostly rubber tappers, look forward to making a lucrative income by selling durians from their farms. A check by Bernama at Kampung Titi Akar, Kampung Padang Durian and Kampung Cina at Padang Kerbau subdistrict here found 20 makeshift stalls have been erected along the Kuala Nerang-Sik main road since last week. “We get to earn more just by selling durians. Instead of tapping rubber we can earn good income in just two months,” said a durian seller from Kampung Padang Durian, Zainol Ariffin, 54, here yesterday. According to Zainol, each day he could sell about 500 kilogrammes of durians, worth about RM5,000 and the durians are gathered from his as well as neighbouring farms.

Palm oil posts its longest quarterly slump on record The Star Online 28th Jun 2019
Palm oil is stuck in rut and it’s not likely to get out anytime soon. Benchmark futures in Malaysia are down 7.1% this quarter as the world’s most-consumed edible oil grapples with persistently high stockpiles in top growers amid lackluster demand. Its performance is in stark contrast to the Bloomberg agricultural spot price index, which is on course for the best quarterly gain in three years thanks to weather-related grain-supply disruption. Another quarterly loss for palm would cap a seventh straight drop -- the worst run since futures started in 1995. The oil, used in everything from candy to biofuel, fell for a seventh straight day in Kuala Lumpur on Friday, touching 1,951 ringgit a ton ($471), the lowest intraday level in seven months.

Superfruits to be planted in Balik Pulau — Chow The Edge Markets 28th Jun 2019
Penang will soon have a farm planting three superfruits such as figs, gac fruits and finger limes to cater to domestic demand, Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow said here tonight. He said currently, many locals were not aware that these fruits could be produced locally as it was typically grown on foreign soils and three business entities, JT F&B Group, Goche Corporation and Ironman Trading, plan to start JT Superfruits, to have the superfruits farm here. "By having local producers with the necessary skills and know-how in this field, Malaysian consumers can now enjoy fresh superfruits without the need to travel long distances," he said after witnessing the launching of 'Penang Kia, Malaysia Boleh!' program by the three companies here.

Malaysia to further spearhead global halal ecosystem Bernama.com 26th Jun 2019
Malaysia intends to further spearhead the global halal ecosystem, particularly in halal certification and development of talent, to ensure standards are harmonised and widely adopted. Ministry of Entrepreneur Development (MED) Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Redzuan Mohd Yusof said this during a roundtable discussion today with Cambridge accelerator coaches who provide both specialised and general advice to development ventures at an early stage.

Future of agro sector rests on youths Daily Express 26th Jun 2019
Youths in the district are encouraged to venture into agriculture as one of the means that can help increase income sources, said Tenom MP Noorita Sual. The younger generation are the nation’s hope in promoting the agriculture and livestock industry that can produce food and provide a source of income, as well as continue to realise the existing policy of improving the food security sector and increasing incomes. She said the ministry of agriculture and agro-based industries continues to focus on the security and increase in income of farmers and fishermen in the development of food and crop sectors. “The youth entrepreneurs also received financing facilities through the Tekun Nasional venture capital fund (Tekun) and Agrobank businesses since 2014, in providing several loan schemes for agricultural activities,“Tekun provides loans of up to RM100,000 through three loan schemes namely micro loan scheme (SPM), small loan scheme (SPK) and medium loan scheme (SPS)

Sugar tax kicks off today The Star 1st Jul 2019
PETALING JAYA: Licensed importers of sweetened beverages must come up with a letter of undertaking and also submit lab reports, says the Customs Department. If the total sugar content of their drinks exceeds the threshold or if the reports are not submitted, the importers will need to make payment of the duties involved.

Customs: Two-month transition period as sugar tax comes into effect The Star Online 30th Jun 2019
PETALING JAYA: The "sugar tax" for the import and manufacturing of ready-to-drink packaged sweetened beverages starts on Monday (July 1), and the business community will be given a two-month transition period for its implementation.

Many to drink less soda Hemananthani Sivanandam 30th Jun 2019
Over half of Malaysians surveyed in a poll say they would drink less soft drinks once the sugar tax, a move by the government to cut down the obesity level in Asia’s fattest country, kicks in tomorrow. The poll conducted by international survey agency YouGov for The Star found that 59% out of the 1,022 respondents said they would drink less soft drinks while 13% said they would stop drinking sugary beverages. Only 25% said they would continue to drink the same amount while 3% said they would in fact drink more. The poll also noted that 64% of those surveyed were aware of the introduction of the excise duty for sweetened beverages announced by Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng during the tabling of Budget 2019 last year. Lim had announced the excise duty for sweetened beverages at 40 sen per litre on two categories of ready-to-drink packaged sweetened drinks. The beverages include carbonated drinks containing added sugar or flavored, and other sweetening matter which contains sugar exceeding 5g per 100ml.

Myanmar

New Livestock Breeding Zones Will Improve Local Dairy Industry Production Myanmar Business Today 1st Jul 2019
As part of a plan to improve cow breeding for dairy and meat production, Myanmar is creating 28 livestock breeding zones. This information comes to us from U Hla Kyaw, the Deputy Minister for the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Irrigation. He added: “These zones will help develop the livestock sector while simultaneously educating farmers. We are also planning to import around 20,000 types of cattle, including Brahmin, during this fiscal year.” The ministry says that it has provided just over K1 billion and a thousand head of cattle for dairy production between FY 2015-2016 and FY 2017-2018. During this fiscal year, the ministry has provided K30 million to ten townships each for the development of the dairy cattle breeding sector. “Our farmers are no strangers to cattle breeding,” Dr. Than Aung Soe, a lawmaker at Pyithu Hluttaw, said. “Given the fact that we have the market to export cattle, providing assistance to the industry will be very beneficial for farmers.” According to Myanmar’s National Animal census, there are 11.5 million head of cattle in the country, and 970,000 are oxen used in agriculture, or are dairy cows.

In Rebuff to UN, KIO Says Opium Cultivation Growing Under Army ‘Protection’ The Irrawaddy 27th Jun 2019
Opium production has increased in Kachin State, including in areas under government control, according to a survey by the Kachin Independence Organization (KIO). The group claimed its findings throw into doubt the accuracy of a 2018 UN study that suggested overall cultivation was declining, with production increases being limited to those areas under KIO control. In a report issued on June 26, the KIO noted that its survey found a much higher level of cultivation than an earlier survey conducted by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC). The survey by the UNODC put total opium cultivation in Kachin State in 2018 at 3,400 hectares.

Japanese Firm to Help Build Industrial Zone for Agricultural Goods in Yangon The Irrawaddy 27th Jun 2019
Representatives of Dagon International Co. and JFE Engineering Corporation sign an MOU on June 25 to develop an industrial zone in Yangon. Japan’s JFE Engineering Corporation and Myanmar’s Dagon International Co. signed a memorandum of understanding on development of the industrial zone on Tuesday. The US$150-million (227.55 billion-kyat) industrial zone will be established on 500 acres of land owned by Dagon International Co. in East Dagon Township, according to U Thurein Aung, the chief executive officer of the Myanmar company. “Though we are an agricultural country, we only export primary products, which are processed by foreign countries and exported back to us as value-added products. So, if we can invite those processing plants into our country, we will be able to make value-added goods from our agricultural produce and supply them to consumers.”

Philippines

Duterte inclined to appoint Piñol as Mindanao Dev't Authority chief Rappler 2nd Jul 2019
President Rodrigo Duterte accepts Agriculture Secretary Manny Piñol's President Rodrigo Duterte said he is inclined to accept Agriculture Secretary Manny Piñol's resignation and name him Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA) Secretary. "I cannot see anybody in the horizon except Piñol who knows and grew up, born in Mindanao, he's a farmer and governor...and that MinDA position is a Cabinet position," Duterte said on Thursday, June 27, during an ambush interview. But Duterte appeared to want to get inputs first from Bangsamoro Interim Chief Minister Murad Ebrahim before making a final decision.

Jollibee Foods to tap debt market for P17.2-B capex BusinessMirror 1st Jul 2019
Fast-food giant Jollibee Foods Corp. (JFC) said it will borrow a portion of its P17.2 billion in capital expenditures this year. Ysmael V. Baysa, the company’s chief finance officer, said most of the time its capex came from internally generated funds and only this year will it tap the debt market to augment its needs. “We are using loans. We do not want to make it complicated. About 70 percent will come from internal funds and 30 percent from outside financing,”Baysa said.  This year’s capex is higher compared with the previous year’s capex of about P12 billion.  The capex for 2019 will be used to fund the opening of about 500 stores worldwide, renovation of 90 stores, the building of two commissaries in the Philippines, and investments in information technology for the stores and support groups mainly in the Philippines and the US, the company said. 

Century Tuna maker eyes offering more products Rappler 1st Jul 2019
Century Pacific Food, Incorporated, the maker of Century Tuna, is looking to offer new products in a bid to build resiliency, its executive chairman Christopher Po said during a press conference on Monday, July 1. "What we're trying to do is diversify so that if there is any movement in the commodities, we're not as affected and the business will stay resilient," Po told reporters on the sidelines of the company's annual stockholders' meeting. To keep their earnings steady, Po said they would need to offer other food segments or even go into mergers and acquisitions. Century Pacific, which began with a tuna business in 1978, started to expand in 1995 from marine products to other food segments such as meat, milk, and even coconut-based goods. Century Pacific has made it a goal to annually grow by 10% to 15% for 10 years since 2014, the same year the company went public.

Agriculture sector insider likely to replace Piñol Business World 1st Jul 2019
Someone already affiliated with the sector is likely to be appointed as the next Agriculture secretary, according to one of the President’s top economic managers. Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez, in a press briefing at the Pre-State of the Nation Address Economic and Infra Forum held in the Philippine International Convention Center in Pasay City on Monday, said President Rodrigo R. Duterte will most likely choose a new Department of Agriculture (DA) chief who “is very intimately familiar with the sector and somebody who has shown success in doing his job in that area.”

Solon wants farmers to adopt aeroponics BusinessMirror 28th Jun 2019
A party-list representative on Thursday said she will again push for the passage of the proposed Aeroponics Technology in Agricultural Production Act in the 18th Congress. Deputy Speaker Sharon Garin of AAMBIS-OWA said the proposal will mandate the Department of Agriculture (DA) to conduct a comprehensive research and information drive on aeroponics technology applied in agricultural production. She said she will refile the measure when Congress opens on July 22. According to Garin, aeroponics is a soil-less, indoor farming method in which plants are grown and nourished by suspending their roots mid-air, keeping the humidity level at 100 percent, and regularly spraying them with a nutrient and water solution. “Aeroponics is an efficient means to grow plants, without potting and repotting them to replenish their access to nutrient-rich soil.

DA orders temporary ban of pigs, processed meat from Laos, North Korea ABS-CBN News 28th Jun 2019
The Department of Agriculture on Friday ordered a temporary ban on the importation of pigs and pork by-products including pig meat, skin and semen from Laos and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea or North Korea, in a bid to protect local swine population from the the African Swine Fever virus. The two separate memoranda signed by Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol ordered the ban of importation of domestic and wild pig and its by-products as well as the suspension of the process evaluation, and issuance of Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) import clearance of the said commodities.

PHL stands pat on SSG for instant coffee imports BusinessMirror 28th Jun 2019
The Philippines stood its ground on the imposition of a special safeguard duty (SSG) on instant-coffee imports, saying it did not omit any import figures in calculating its trigger price as claimed by Indonesia. During the World Trade Organization Committee on Agriculture (WTO-COA) meeting recently, the Philippines maintained that it did not import any instant coffee and other coffee extract products in 1987 or in 1988; thus, it used only 1986 import figures in calculating its trigger price. Under the WTO Agreement on Agriculture, countries should determine their trigger price by averaging the import price figures from 1986 to 1988. The Philippines welcomed Indonesia’s explanation and asked Jakarta to continue bilateral talks to iron out its concerns over Manila’s trade measures.

Jollibee founder eyes 50-50 revenue split between local, foreign businesses ABS-CBN News 28th Jun 2019
Jollibee Foods Corp. founder Tony Tan Caktiong on Friday said he was optimistic on achieving the company’s goal of a 50-50 revenue split between its local and foreign businesses as worldwide sales surge. The country's largest restaurant operator took full ownership of US burgerchain Smashburger earlier this year. It also has interests in the Asia-Pacific franchise holder of Tim Ho Wan, US-Mexican food business Tortas Frontera, and Panda Express' Panda Restaurant Group Inc. "The proportion of our foreign business to worldwide system wide sales will increase from the present 20 percent to 30 percent. We will eventually achieve our goal of 50-50 revenue split between the Philippines and foreign businesses even as our Philippine business continues to expand strongly since our foreign business is growing even faster,” Caktiong said during JFC’s annual shareholders’ meeting.

No action yet on Department of Agriculture chief’s quit bid Journal Online 28th Jun 2019
President Rodrigo Duterte has yet to accept Agriculture Secretary Manny Piñol’s offer to resign as he wants first to talk with Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) Interim Chief Minister Al Hajj Murad Ebrahim about transferring the aggie chief to the Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA). Pinol has offered to quit his port amid reports that President Duterte is unsatisfied with his performance. Piñol’s resignation came on the heels of reports that Duterte is studying the performances of his Cabinet as part of his midterm assessment. Duterte was reportedly eyeing to transfer Piñol to MinDA, which is currently headed by lawyer Nathaniel Dalumpines in an acting capacity.

EO aims to accelerate farmers’ rainwater harvesting Philippine News Agency 27th Jun 2019
A planned executive order (EO) seeks to help improve availability of water for growing crops and livestock nationwide. “We’re drafting that EO to accelerate use of rainwater harvesting in agricultural areas of the country,” Bureau of Soils and Water Management (BSWM) Soil Conservation Management Division chief Samuel Contreras said. He said the EO’s issuance can help facilitate development of structures like small farm reservoirs where rainwater and runoff are collected which eventually will provide water to farmers when traditional supply is tight or unavailable. Collecting, storing and using rainwater also helps guard against over-extraction of groundwater which Contreras said must be conserved as much as possible.

Agriculture chief resigns, says President ‘doesn’t trust him anymore’ The Manila Times Online 27th Jun 2019
UPDATE 2: Agriculture chief resigns, says President ‘doesn’t trust him anymore.’ Secretary Emmanuel Piñol tendered his courtesy resignation because President Rodrigo Duterte “doesn’t trust him anymore,” a former top aide of the Chief Executive said on Thursday. “With the best interest of the Department of Agriculture and its stakeholders, may I request that I be relieved from my present position as Secretary of Agriculture and reassigned to whichever agency you believe I will be effective, including the Mindanao Development Authority or MinDA,” Pinol said in his letter.

Piñol resigns as agriculture secretary Philippine News Agency 27th Jun 2019
Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol has offered to resign amid reports that President Rodrigo Duterte is no longer satisfied with his performance. Senator-elect Christopher “Bong” Go bared this before his scheduled oath-taking as senator in Malacañang on Thursday night. A copy of Piñol’s resignation letter, which Go read in a media interview, was later shared to members of the Malacañang Press Corps. Piñol recommended any of his three undersecretaries-- Undersecretaries Waldo Carpio (Undersecretary for Special Concerns and Legislative Liaison Officer), Ariel Cayanan (Undersecretary for Operations), and Francisco Villano (Undersecretary-designate for Finance) -- to replace him as Agriculture chief.

EWS seeks to sustain stronghold of Philippine seed industry BusinessMirror 26th Jun 2019
Dutch company East-West Seed (EWS) continues to dominate the domestic market as 65 percent of smallholder farmers in the country use its over 100 improved vegetable varieties. EWS Public Affairs Lead Dr. Mary Ann P. Sayoc said the country has the biggest share of the local seed industry as compared to its peers in Southeast Asia where the firm also operates. “Like in Indonesia and in Thailand, we are also the market leader there, but at a smaller percentage of around 40 percent, not more than 50 percent,” she told reporters after their recent media briefing held at the Shangri-la Hotel in Makati City. Despite its commanding presence nationwide, EWS remains not complacent to sustain its leading position in the market. It is keen on expanding further in Visayas and Mindanao, where there are still many pockets of farming that are way behind the times.

PH tightens importation of plant-based feeds from ASF-hit nations Rappler 25th Jun 2019
The Department of Agriculture says there are findings that African swine fever can be transmitted through plant-based feeds. The Department of Agriculture (DA) tightened the importation of plant-based feeds from countries infected by African swine fever (ASF). To be able to bring in plant-based feeds into the country, an independent third party surveyor will have to state the last outbreak date of ASF from the country of origin following the announcement of the World Organisation for Animal Health. There is no need to place imported feeds in quarantine if these came from non-Asian countries with a last outbreak date that is more than 2 months or 60 days ago from the date of arrival in the Philippines. But feeds coming from countries with a last outbreak date of less than two months or 60 days ago from the date of arrival will be subjected to quarantine.

Farmers seek gov’t support to promote more agri products from Region 9 Philippine Information Agency 18th Jun 2019
ZAMBOANGA CITY, June 17 (PIA) – Region 9 is abundant in a wide assortment of agricultural products, but farmers have been concerned on how to sell these products to more markets. Sabiniano Cantay, chairperson of the Zamboanga Peninsula Coffee Industry Cluster said “we have the products but we lack the buyers,” specifically referring to coffee. The Department of Trade and Industry-IX (DTI IX) through their Negosyo Centers has been able to assist the farmers and entrepreneurs in promoting their products. There were several trainings and seminars conducted by the DTI and other agencies to help the Micro Small Medium Enterprises (MSME) in introducing their products and how to sustain their business. DTI-IX Regional Director Sitti Amina Jain emphasized that more than the product, the farmers should also have knowledge in entrepreneurship. “The entrepreneurs should know their target consumers for them to sell their products,” she said. Top selling products from Region 9 are fish and processed fruit products. Chairpersons from different industry clusters in Zamboanga Peninsula raised their concerns on the support they need from the government in order to learn the process of selling their products and to help them facilitate the procedure faster in terms of the services they need from different government agencies. There are a lot of potential products in different provinces that may help the economy of Zamboanga Peninsula grow. Some government agencies especially the Department of Agriculture (DA) and Department of Science and Technology (DOST) have programs that can benefit the farmers in which they can produce unique products out of their raw materials and ingredients.

Palay seeds to be given to affected farmers in Antique Philippine News Agency 18th Jun 2019
SAN JOSE DE BUENAVISTA, Antique -- The provincial government will purchase palay seeds to be given to farmers suffering from the impact of the El Niño phenomenon. Nicolasito Calawag, the Office of the Provincial Agriculturist (OPA) chief, said the provincial government will purchase palay seeds because many farmers affected by the dry spell were not able to produce enough seeds for their next cropping season. “We will be outsourcing palay seeds,” he said in an interview on Tuesday. Calawag has requested the Task Force El Niño, which he also chairs, to allocate PHP2 million for the palay seeds. Antique province was placed under a state of calamity on June 13 due to the adverse effect of the El Niño phenomenon. “I will be asking for a PHP2 million allocation to buy palay seeds to be given to the farmers,” he said. Farmer Melvin Jamandron of Bongbongan II, Sibalom town, a member of the farmers’ group Paghugpong sang mga Mangunguma sa Panay and Guimaras (Pamanggas), said in a previous interview that they already finished land preparation for the first cropping but were faced with problems on where to get palay seeds for planting.

Dominguez says gov’t taking ‘close look’ at sugar import liberalization | BusinessWorld Business World 2nd Jul 2019
FINANCE Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III said that the government is looking into liberalizing sugar imports because prices of the domestic product are uncompetitive. At a news conference for the Pre-State of the Nation Address (SONA) Economic and Infrastructure Forum at the Philippine International Convention Center in Pasay City Monday, Mr. Dominguez said domestic prices are double the world market price, weighing on the competitiveness of the food processing industry.

Envoy: Canadian meat products are safe to eat BusinessMirror 28th Jun 2019
CANADA has assured Filipino consumers and authorities that it observes stringent standards to ensure the safety of its meat products after China disallowed Canadian shipments over bogus documents. Canadian Ambassador to the Philippines John T. Holmes said the decision of Beijing to disallow meat shipments from Canada due to the discovery of bogus veterinary health certificates is “very much a concern” for Ottawa. “It is unfortunate that this has happened,” Holmes said during the BusinessMirror’s Coffee Club forum on Thursday.

DA-BFAR holds test run for FRP boats awarded to fishermen in Recto Bank collision incident BusinessMirror 25th Jun 2019
Department of Agriculture’s Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (DA-BFAR) personnel supervised over the weekend the test run of 30-footer fiberglass-reinforced plastic (FRP) boats with 18 horsepower (HP) diesel engines for the 22 Recto Bank fishermen, who figured in a sea “collision” with a Chinese vessel. The boats can now be used by the fishermen-beneficiaries to fish within the municipal waters abundant with fishes like tulingan, galunggong, tambakol, gulyasan, dalagang-bukid, talakitok, sapsap and tamban, among others, while they wait for the restoration of their motherboat, the F/B Gemver 1.

Lawmaker vows to push passage of mango development bill BusinessMirror 21st Jun 2019
Following the reported oversupply of mangoes, a lawmaker on Thursday vowed to push for enactment of the proposed Philippine Mango Development Act in the 18th Congress. AAMBIS-OWA Party-list Rep. Sharon Garin of said she filed House Bill 3538 or the Philippine Mango Development Act, which, she said,  the House Committee on Agriculture failed to approve.

Recto Bank ‘already exclusive’ to Filipino fishers, says Palace BusinessMirror 20th Jun 2019
Recto Bank is “already an exclusive fishing ground to Filipinos,” Malacañang said on Wednesday, as it assured the public that the Philippine government will be posting more Coast Guard personnel to protect Filipinos there. Presidential Spokesman Salvador S. Panelo made the remarks shortly after Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel F. Piñol said the 22 Filipino fishermen whose boat was rammed by a Chinese vessel on June 9 are asking the President to make representations with Beijing so the Chinese fishing vessel’s crew will be held accountable criminally for abandoning them. They also asked that  Recto Bank be the Filipino fishermen’s exclusive fishing grounds.

Duterte retains tariff on chicken MDM at 5% BusinessMirror 18th Jun 2019
THE tariff on mechanically deboned meat (MDM) of chicken and turkey will remain at 5 percent until 2020 after President Duterte followed the recommendation of the National Economic and Development Authority (Neda) and signed Executive Order (EO) 82. As reported in the BusinessMirror (See, “‘EO on MDM tariff up for Duterte’s  signature,’” June 10, 2019), the issuance of the EO is expected to avert increases in the prices of processed meat products, which are popular among most low-income households. This is because chicken MDM is a key component for the manufacture of hot dogs and canned luncheon meat.

DTI shuts door on hike of canned meat prices with 5% MDM tariff EO BusinessMirror 18th Jun 2019
IT is a win for the buying public. The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) will thumb down any and all appeals to increase canned meat prices following President Duterte’s decision to retain the 5-percent tariff on mechanically deboned meat (MDM). Trade Secretary Ramon M. Lopez said the DTI will block any petition to adjust upward the prices of canned meat listed under the suggested retail price (SRP) list. He argued that canned meat makers managed to keep prices stable even before, more so now that the 5-percent duty on MDM is retained.

EO retains 5% tariff on deboned poultry meat to keep prices low Business World 17th Jun 2019
PRESIDENT Rodrigo R. Duterte has signed an executive order retaining the 5% import tariff on mechanically deboned meat (MDM) from poultry until 2020 to mitigate the possible impact on prices. The President signed on June 13 Executive Order no. 82: “Modifying the Nomenclature and Rates of Import Duty on Certain Agricultural Products Under Section 1611 of Republic Act No. 10863, Otherwise Known as the Customs Modernization and Tariff Act.” The Palace released copies of the EO on Monday morning.

Fruit exports, auto parts imports seen key to South Korea FTA Business World 17th Jun 2019
THE Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) said it will seek to balance of the interests of the agriculture industry, which wants to export more produce to South Korea, and the auto and parts industry, which might be disadvantaged by Seoul’s demands for lower tariffs for its products. The terms of the trade relationship are currently being worked out in negotiations for a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with South Korea. “Initially, South Korea requested (lowering) certain tariff lines mostly on auto, auto parts. But then again the fact remains that we have local industries to protect,” Assistant Secretary of the Trade Department’s Industry Development and Trade Policy Group Allan B. Gepty said at the Tariff Commission hearing last week.

Singapore

Technology fuels food industry growth The Straits Times 1st Jul 2019
Agriculture does not come first to mind as a thriving industry here. Yet in recent years, there has been a concerted push by the Government to encourage innovation in farming technology as well as growing the local food supply. There are signs these initiatives are starting to pay dividends. Recently, German chemical giant Evonik opened its second plant to produce an animal feed additive. The facility, an investment of more than $768 million, is due in large part to Singapore's position as a trade and logistics hub, which gives the company access to regional markets. The Singapore Food Agency also put a tender up for 10 land parcels for farming in Lim Chu Kang, emphasising that proposals with higher productivity and better sustainability are likelier to win the tender.

Warming to slash equivalent of 80 million jobs by 2030: UN The Straits Times 1st Jul 2019
As climate change worsens, growing heat stress on workers in agriculture and other sectors will cause a productivity loss equal to 80 million full-time jobs over the next decade, the UN warned on Monday (July 1).A report from the International Labour Organisation estimated that in 2030, 2.2 per cent of total working hours worldwide will be lost because of higher temperatures. The percentage is expected to be more than double that in the hardest-hit regions, western Africa and southern Asia, according to the report, Working on a warmer planet: The impact of heat stress on labour productivity.

Thailand

41% of sampled fruits, vegetables contaminated Bangkok Post 26th Jun 2019
The annual survey of vegetables and fruits by the Thailand Pesticide Alert Network (ThaiPAN) found high toxic contamination on 41% of sampled vegetables and fruits, and the problem was bigger at retail stores than wet markets. The network and its partners - local health officials, farmers and residents - collected 286 samples of popular vegetables and fruits from retail stores and wet markets in Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Khon Kaen, Sa Kaeo, Yasothon, Chanthaburi, Ratchaburi and Songkhla for toxic contamination tests, ThaiPAN coordinator Prokchol Ousap told a news conference in Nonthaburi on Wednesday. The samples were sent for standard laboratory tests in the United Kingdom, and high toxic contamination was found in 41% of them, she said. The level of high contamination was slightly down on last year, when 46% of samples were found to be harmfully contaminated.

FDA defends weed ad rules Bangkok Post 25th Jun 2019
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) defended its draft regulations on the licencing and advertising of marijuana-based medications, saying that the regulations "were not designed to benefit large, foreign pharmaceutical companies". Dr. Tares Krassanairawiwong, secretary-general of the FDA, said that currently there are no foreign pharmaceutical companies which hold the rights to sell marijuana-based medication in the country, which makes it virtually impossible for the regulation to benefit foreign pharmaceutical companies. Under the new ministerial regulations, FDA approval is required for every advertisement about marijuana-based medications. Dr. Tares insisted that the advertisements can only be educational in nature, and must not be made for commercial purposes.

Retailers enlisted to aid palm growers Bangkok Post 25th Jun 2019
Farmers' suffering continues with bottoming prices despite B2bn in government support/ The Commerce Ministry is calling on retailers to mark up prices of cooking palm oil to reflect higher costs, in part to help boost domestic oil palm prices. Whichai Phochanakij, director-general of the Internal Trade Department, said the request for cooperation aims to raise the prices of fresh palm nuts and increase the income of palm growers who have long suffered from slumping prices. Due to massive supply, the price of domestic fresh palm nuts hit a 10-year low in April of 1.80 baht per kilogramme, far below growers' production costs averaging 3.45 baht per kg last year and four baht per kg in 2017. In the past, certain modern trade channels have sold bottled cooking palm oil at a loss to draw customers to their stores and made their own house brands, resulting in price competition and the price slump, the source said.

Toxic inaction on farm chemicals Bangkok Post 24th Jun 2019
In staunch defiance against growing calls for a ban on extremely hazardous farm chemicals, including paraquat, the Department of Agriculture has started registering farmers who still want to use the chemicals on their plantations. On June 5, the Department of Agriculture -- a key proponent of these herbicides -- urged farmers to register quickly with the agency to ensure approval for the right to use the toxic chemicals. It said the farmers should register a week after they start their harvest, or they may "lose the right to use" paraquat and the other two chemicals, namely glyphosate and chlorpyrifos. The agency said it would conduct an eligibility test, meaning only those who know how to use the toxic chemicals correctly will be granted the right to purchase and use them. Those who fail will have to attend training sessions provided by the department and then pass a test. Fifty-three countries, including Vietnam, Laos and recently China, a major paraquat exporter, have banned paraquat. Some 17 countries limit the use of all three chemicals. Several studies conducted by local researchers have found that using these herbicides has had a negative effect on the health of Thai farmers. The Department of Agriculture, which is a member of the national committee on hazardous substances, has been at odds with other state agencies such as the Public Health Ministry, academics and food safety activists which, over the past two years, have pushed for a ban.

'Panama disease' outbreak reported Bangkok Post 19th Jun 2019
The Department of Agriculture has dispatched officials to inspect a large banana plantation in Chiang Rai province after a report of an outbreak of Panama disease, which is known to rip through plantations causing significant damage. A well-placed source who insisted on anonymity told the Bangkok Post that officials are destroying infected banana trees in a bid to contain the disease. The plantation is located on 2,000 rai in Phaya Mengrai district. "We cannot confirm whether it is Panama disease, but it has never occurred in Thailand before," the source said. "One thing that is clear is that the company illegally imported cuttings to be planted in this country," she said, adding that the disease right now is limited to that plantation only. The department has just taken samples from the infected trees for testing and the analysis will be completed within a week. "If it is Panama disease as feared, the department will announce the area as an outbreak control zone and all plant movement and transportation must be stopped," said the same source. The source reiterated that only one plantation was involved and that the disease could only have come from infected cuttings imported from overseas, not from excessive chemical use.

Thai fruit exports in first 4 months of 2019 grows by more than 150% Fresh Plaza 17th Jun 2019
The fruit exported from Thailand to China in the first 4 months of this year was worth 668 million USD, which is a growth of 152.7% in comparison with the same period last year. A spokesperson for the Thai Ministry of Commerce stated that the number of Chinese tourists in Thailand grows every year. Not only does Thailand benefit from this growth in tourism, but Chinese tourists become more familiar with Thai fruit, which in turn encourages export of fruit from Thailand to China. Chinese tourists particularly enjoy durian, mangosteen, and longan. China is already the most important export market for Thai durian and mangosteen. The export of durian from Thailand to China in the first 4 months of this year reached a value of 418 million USD. In 2018, data shows, the overall export volume of fruit from Thailand to China reached a value of 2.021 billion USD.

Palming off the problem Bangkok Post 24th Jun 2019
An oversupply of fresh palm nuts has prompted authorities to boost prices by marking up the price of cooking palm oil, much to the dismay of retailers. While such a move could boost palm nut prices, it could also impact food prices and the cost of living. Global crude palm oil (CPO) production is estimated at 72.26 million tonnes this year, up 4.3% from 2018.

Tuna exports on course despite baht Bangkok Post 24th Jun 2019
The Thai Tuna Industry Association (TTIA) is confident that canned tuna exports will rise by 12% to 350,000 tonnes in the first half, driven by worldwide demand. For the full year of 2019, the TTIA expects canned tuna exports to reach 700,000 tonnes, up from the previous year's 600,666.

Exporters call for long-term rice vision Bangkok Post 20th Jun 2019
The new government is being urged to set a clear direction on Thai rice development, covering not just the short term but also the medium term and the long run to sustain the country's cash crop. According to Charoen Laothamatas, the president of the Thai Rice Exporters Association, the government should take into account the overall Thai rice industry, not just the price of paddy.

Vietnam

Big pork shortage looms over Việt Nam Vietnam News Agency 1st Jul 2019
Việt Nam could have a shortfall of 500,000 tonnes of pork, or nearly 20 per cent of demand, in the period until the Lunar New Year in early 2020 due to the effect of African swine flu, according to global research firm Ipsos Business Consulting. In its assessment on Việt Nam’s swine market supply and demand from July to early 2020, the company said though demand was down since consumers had sometimes switched to other foods, the decrease in supply was much higher and so supply would not meet demand. Pork imports from the US, Canada, Spain, Germany, Poland, and France had skyrocketed in the last four months. The impact of ASF had increased demand for other meats such as chicken and beef.

Long An seeks rapid adoption of advanced rice farming techniques Vietnam News Agency 1st Jul 2019
The Cửu Long (Mekong) Delta province of Long An hopes to ensure 20,000ha of paddies are farmed using advanced techniques by the end of this year. Nguyễn Chí Thiện, deputy director of its Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, said these lands would be in Vĩnh Hưng, Tân Hưng, Thạnh Hóa, Mộc Hóa, and Tân Thạnh districts and Kiến Tường Town. These localities now have 62 different models that use advanced techniques on an area of 13,400ha. Farmers adopting these models use certified high-quality rice seeds and machinery in all stages, organic fertilisers, and biocides, and grow flowers around rice fields to attract insects that are natural enemies of brown plant hoppers. Rice produced under these models has guaranteed outlets. They have reduced production costs by VNĐ2 – 2.5 million (US$86 - 107) per hectare and increased yields by VNĐ300 – 500 kilogrammes, according to the department. Participating farmers earn VNĐ4 – 6 million ($171 - 258) per hectare more than from normal farming methods, it said. echniques.html#cogqr2TtPccJ4TvQ.99

Agriculture exporters suffer as China rules tighten VNExpress 1st Jul 2019
Nguyen Van Thinh, deputy chairman of Nui Thanh District in the central province of Quang Nam, said the district has 930 tons of dried squid that it cannot export. Durian prices in the Central Highlands province of Lam Dong have fallen 36-42 percent to VND35,000-45,000 ($1.49-1.92) per kilogram as traders have not been able to export a large amount of this fruit to China. Farmers in the province are selling their durian alongside the national highway or sending them to Ho Chi Minh City to sell at lower prices just to break even. The situation is even worse for jackfruits. Their prices have fallen 77-93 percent to VND5,000-18,000 ($0.22-0.78) per kilogram in the southern province of Hau Giang compared to the peak of VND70,000-80,000 ($2.99-3.42) per kilogram in the first quarter. Prices have plunged as large quantities of the fruit do not qualify for China exports. New regulations on Vietnamese fruit and seafood imports, introduced early this year, require agricultural products to have their origins (region, producer, etc.) declared to Chinese customs.

Wood exports bring Vietnam nearly $5 billion in H1 VietNamNet 1st Jul 2019
The export value of wood and wood products reached nearly 5 billion USD in the first half of 2019, according to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development. The US was the biggest importer of the country’s wood and wood products. During January-May, the export turnover to the US accounted for 45 percent of the total. In the time ahead, the timber industry will continue working to improve transparency by applying good production process to ensure sustainable development. Including non-timber forest products, total earnings from shipping forestry products abroad in the first half of this year came to around 5.3 billion USD, a year-on-year surge of nearly 20 percent. To date, Vietnam maintained its position as the leading exporter of forest products in Southeast Asia, the second largest in Asia and the fifth in the world.

Vietnam's central region faces serious drought VietNamNet 28th Jun 2019
The prolonged heat wave and severe drought in Quang Tri and other central provinces has badly affected local people. The heat still threatens the lives of the people in the central region in late June. Over 2,400 hectares of crops in Quang Tri was affected by the drought, of which 1,000 hectares are in critical condition. The provincial authorities have started carrying out emergency plans to limit the damage. The water levels in many local lakes and reservoirs have dropped sharply to about 25%. La Nga Lake is one of the biggest reservoirs in Quang Tri but the water level has dropped to 8.6 million cubic metres, or 25.5% of the reservoir capacity.

Vietnam's H1 coffee exports fall 10.6%, rice down 2.9% Tuoi Tre News 28th Jun 2019
Vietnam’s coffee exports in the first half of this year are expected to fall 10.6% from a year earlier to 928,000 tonnes, while rice exports will likely decline 2.9%, government data released on Friday showed. Coffee exports from Vietnam will likely fall an estimated 10.6% in the first half of this year from a year earlier to 928,000 tonnes, equal to 15.47 million 60-kg bags, the General Statistics Office said in a report on Friday. Coffee export revenue for Vietnam, the world’s biggest producer of the robusta bean, will likely decline 21.1% to $1.58 billion in the six-month period, the report said. The country’s coffee shipments in June are estimated at 150,000 tonnes valued at $250 million, it said.Rice exports in the first half of this year from Vietnam were forecast to fall 2.9% from a year earlier to 3.38 million tonnes. Revenue from rice exports in the period was expected to drop 17.6% to $1.46 billion. June rice exports from Vietnam, the world’s third-largest shipper of the grain, totaled 620,000 tonnes, worth $272 million

Prompt actions urged to control invasive alien species Voice of Vietnam 27th Jun 2019
The Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment (MoNRE) has called for prompt actions by ministries and sectors to control invasive alien species (IAS), some of which have entered Vietnam’s natural environment and caused serious consequences. According to the Biodiversity Conservation Agency of the MoNRE’s Vietnam Environment Administration, there are more than 90 IAS, both plants and animals. It is worrying that some IAS have entered Vietnam in large volume and broken out in nature, affecting local biodiversity.Most recently, on December 28, 2018, the MoNRE listed crayfish (Procambarus clarkii) as a species with high invasion risks that must be prevented from spreading to the natural environment. Reports from localities, market surveillance and customs agencies and the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development show that illegal batches of crayfish were uncovered in some provinces and cities this May. Notably, the northern border province of Lao Cai busted seven trafficking cases, seizing 945kg of crayfish.

Kiên Giang widens efficient rice farming, aquaculture models Vietnam News Agency 27th Jun 2019
The Cửu Long (Mekong) Delta province of Kiên Giang has expanded its most efficient rice and aquatic species farming models in the last two years. Mai An Nhịn, deputy chairman of the province People’s Committee, said many farmers have switched from growing rice, in case of low yields, to breeding aquatic species. They have also expanded the model of rotating between rice in the rainy season and shrimp in the dry season on the same fields to enhance their incomes, he said. It has created rice varieties like GKG1 and GKG9 that have a short maturity period, are resistant to disease and saltwater, and have high yield and quality.

Việt Nam’s agricultural sector to face fierce competition Vietnam News Agency 27th Jun 2019
Local firms are set to face fierce competition from EU imports thanks to two upcoming agreements between the two sides. The EU-Việt Nam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA) and the EU-Việt Nam Investment Protection Agreement (EVIPA) are scheduled to be signed on June 30. The competition was highlighted by Minister of Industry and Trade Trần Tuấn Anh at a conference to assess the two agreements’ impact on Vietnamese agriculture held in Hà Nội on Wednesday. Anh said that integration wouldn't be entirely rosy thanks to increasing competition with imported goods from more developed countries. In the EVFTA, Việt Nam will remove 24 per cent of agricultural tariff lines in the first year and 99 per cent after 10 years for EU products, meanwhile, EU countries will cut 74.6 per cent and 97.3 per cent, respectively, for Vietnamese products.

Pork imports spike, Vietnam's livestock industry under pressure VietNamNet 27th Jun 2019
The HCM City Customs Agency reported that the city imported 4,000 tons of frozen pork in the last six months, a four-time increase compared with the same period last year. Farmers are worried because the domestic supply is more than enough to satisfy demand and the pork price is on the decrease. Nguyen Thi Huong in Dong Hoa commune in Dong Nai province, the owner of a farm with 600 pigs, complained that consumption is very weak. “At first, merchants agreed to pay VND35,000 per kilogram, but they later gave up, saying that the sale is very slow,” she said. According to Huong, amid the African swine fever outbreak, many farming households have reduced the number of pigs and some others have stopped farming, but despite the decreased supply, the prices keep decreasing. The African swine fever epidemic has led to culling of more than 2.6 million pigs, or 7-8 percent of total pigs in the country. The serious situation has prompted the agriculture ministry to consider issuing a state of emergency.

Vietnam takes actions to have EC yellow card removed VietNamNet 27th Jun 2019
Vietnam has taken steps to prevent its fishermen from illegally fishing in foreign waters to meet the EC’s yellow card regulations on unidentified origin products. The fishery sector and authorities of 28 coastal provinces and cities are committed to the goal. The EC’s yellow card warning is not a sanction on Vietnamese fishing, but a demand for Vietnam to change and develop the fishing sector sustainably and responsibly. Vietnam has made great progress in building new legal frameworks including the issuance of the Fisheries Law, which has taken effect since the beginning of this year.Sanh said that since the EC issued a yellow card warning more than a year ago, Vietnamese fishermen have changed their habits. They have to keep a diary of their voyage, with date, time, coordinates, kind of fish caught, and catch volume. Ho Quoc Dung, Chairman of the Binh Dinh provincial People’s Committee, said “We deal with violators not by fining them but by informing them that they are violating the law. The process aims to show them their duty and prevent future violations.

Vietnam’s fruit granary fails in home market VietNamNet 26th Jun 2019
Even the Mekong Delta, the biggest fruit granary of the country, is having a tough time selling fruit in the midst of massive imports. For a long time, imported fruits were seen only in large cities as they were unaffordable for low income earners. However, they are now available everywhere. Co-opmart and Big C in Can Tho City are full of imported fruits. The supermarkets even reserve large areas in advantageous positions for display of imported products. A petty merchant at Xuan Khanh Market said imported fruits are carried by trucks every day from HCMC and southwestern border areas to Can Tho City. She said the sale of imported products sometimes double the sale of domestic fruits. Imports are diverse, from high-end to popular products. Thanh Lan in Ninh Kieu district admitted that she buys imported products not because they are more delicious than domestic ones but because of the traceability of imports.

The official launch of Nutifood's dairy factory in Sweden Bangkok Post 26th Jun 2019
On May 27th, in Stockholm, Sweden, the Triparties joint venture of Nutifood, Backahill group and The Cooperative of Skånemejerier Ekonomisk Förening dairy farms officially announced the operation of NutiFood Sweden AB Dairy Factory. The announcement was under the witness Vietnamese Prime Minister, Mr. Nguyen Xuan Phuc, and Swedish Prime Minister, Mr. Stefan Löfven. The event was within the framework of the official visit of Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc and the Vietnamese high-ranking delegation, at the invitation of Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Löfven to celebrate the 50th anniversary of establishing diplomatic relations between Sweden and Vietnam. NutiFood was the first big dairy enterprise of Vietnam to invest in Sweden to be invited to this event.

MARD plans to develop more quality plant and animal breeds Vietnam News Agency 25th Jun 2019
The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) will continue to develop breeding sources for the agriculture sector according to the needs of the market, said Minister of Agriculture Nguyễn Xuân Cường at a workshop held to review the seed production plan. In order to improve the nation's capacity for research, production and management of plant and animal breeds and encourage investment in this area, MARD had asked the Prime Minister for permission to develop another development scheme for the 2021-30 period. The ministry would also increase investment in research institutes, enterprises, agencies, organisations and individuals to produce seeds with high productivity, quality and adaptation to climate change.

African swine fever hits industrial farms in Vietnam, 2.8 million pigs culled Tuoi Tre News 25th Jun 2019
Vietnam has culled nearly 10% of its pig herd to contain an African swine fever outbreak that has started hitting large-scale industrial farms, the government said in a statement on Tuesday. African swine fever, which is deadly to pigs but harmless to humans, was first detected in Vietnam in February and has spread to farms in 60 of the country’s 63 provinces. Authorities have this week culled hundreds of pigs at Phu Son Farm, home to more than 18,000 pigs. The country’s pork industry is valued at around 94 trillion dong ($4.03 billion), and accounts for nearly 10% of Vietnam’s agricultural sector.

Việt Nam to develop cattle breeding, say officials Vietnam News Agency 24th Jun 2019
Việt Nam’s agricultural sector will focus on developing cattle, poultry and aquatic breeding to compensate for a shortage of pork which is expected to hit this year due to African swine fever. Domestic demand for beef was about three kilos per head per year, while in Asia it was more than five kilos, and in some developed countries it was more than nine kilos. The average demand for milk in Asia was 81 kilos per head per year compared to the world figure of 120 kilos. In Việt Nam, it is just 20 kilos, providing an advantage for the grass-fed livestock industry to re-organise production, especially when Việt Nam is trying to integrate into the global agricultural value chain.“This shows that Việt Nam’s beef industry and dairy industry still have a lot of potential for development,” Chinh told thoibaokinhdoanh.vn. However, Chinh said it was not easy for domestic beef to compete with imported beef which was favoured by many Vietnamese customers.

Asia Coffee: Vietnam prices little changed from last week; brisk trade in Indonesia Tuoi Tre News 20th Jun 2019
Coffee prices in Vietnam remained little changed on Thursday from a week ago with supplies from farmers running low, while brisk trading activity was seen in Indonesia where a major harvest was peaking. Farmers in the Central Highlands, Vietnam’s largest coffee growing area, sold coffee at 33,000-34,000 dong ($1.42-$1.46) per kg on Thursday, compared with 33,400-33,700 dong a week earlier. September robusta coffee settled unchanged from the previous session at $1,372 per tonne on Wednesday, after falling from a recent peak of $1,504 on June 4. “Shipments from Vietnam will likely fall significantly until the next harvest that will begin in October,” the first trader said, adding that the decline in global prices have also kept exporters from clinching new deals.

Southeast Asia sugar industry discusses strategies as global deficit looms vietnamnews.vn 19th Jun 2019
HCM CITY — There will be a global sugar deficit of about 2.5 million tonnes in 2019-20, and prices are expected to harden, the fourth meeting of the ASEAN Sugar Alliance heard in HCM City yesterday. Sasathorn Sanguandeekul, market analyst, futures trading and risk management at Thailand's MITR Phol Sugar Corp Ltd, said in 2018-19 -- the crop starts annually in September -- there was a surplus of two million tonnes. A deficit would occur this year mostly due to a reduction in output in major sugar producing countries, including Thailand, he said. “In 2019-20 with the expectation of reduction in Thailand and India, Asia should have a deficit of around 9.5 million tonnes.” Output in Brazil, the world's largest sugar producer and exporter, in 2018-19 “decreased to 26.5 million tonnes due to ageing canes, drought and low sugar mix ratio. While sugar production in 2019-20 is forecast to be around 26-28 million tonnes”. But Brazil was still maximising ethanol production, reducing sugar output, she said.

U.S. pork, beef showcased in Vietnam Feedstuffs 17th Jun 2019
Working to distinguish U.S. pork and beef from competitors’ products while building relationships with traders and foodservice operators in a fast-growing market, the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF) recently participated in the 2019 edition of Food & Hotel Vietnam. Funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Market Access Program (MAP), the National Pork Board and the beef checkoff program, the effort included coordination of meetings between USMEF members and importers, culinary competitions and a U.S. product showcase featuring U.S. beef and pork cuts. More than 700 exhibitors from 29 countries took part in the biennial trade show, which attracted 14,000 visitors – a 7% increase from 2017. Along with the U.S., countries with their own pavilions included Australia, Belgium, Canada, China, Denmark, France, Germany, Ireland, Korea, Malaysia, Poland, Russia, Singapore, Spain, Taiwan and Turkey. The U.S. Pavilion was the largest, with 25 companies and cooperators promoting products. “With all of this competition at Food & Hotel Vietnam, it has become one of the most important shows in the region when it comes to creating awareness for U.S. pork and beef, especially given the increasing demand for imported meat in Vietnam and some of the surrounding countries,” said USMEF director in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Sabrina Yin, who noted that Vietnam’s strong tourism industry has fueled the rapid development of its foodservice sector.

Vietnam Sustainable Shrimp Alliance established vietnamplus.vn 17th Jun 2019
Ca Mau (VNA) – An alliance was set up on June 17 with a view to promoting sustainable shrimp production, an important sector in Vietnam’s agriculture. An event to match businesses in the sector and sign a memorandum of understanding on participating in the Vietnam Sustainable Shrimp Alliance (VSSA) was held in Ca Mau, a province in the Mekong Delta – the aquaculture hub of Vietnam. Vice Chairman of the provincial People’s Committee Le Van Su said the VSSA foundation is an inevitable move amidst the fact that Vietnam’s shrimp sector is facing an array of challenges, including seeking markets and meeting consumers’ growing demand for clean and environmentally friendly shrimp products. Josh Madeira, Senior Manager of Ocean Conservation Policy from the US’s Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch Programme, noted consumers in North America, Europe and Asia consider the taste, freshness, health benefits and food safety as leading criteria when choosing aquatic products. The US, the EU and Japan always have compulsory food safety requirements. Additionally, more than 90 percent of the retailers in North America and 75 percent of those in the EU also request that aquatic products must ensure environmental sustainability, he noted.

Processing seafood by-products – the billion-USD industry VietNamNet 3rd Jul 2019
A report shows that total seafood output in Vietnam is 7 million tons per annum, of which by-products account for 15-20 percent, or 1 million tons. This could be a valuable source of input materials to make products with high added value. According to the General Department of Fisheries, the seafood by-product processing industry makes up $275 million, a very low figure if noting that the figure could be up to $4-5 billion. According to Phan Thanh Loc, general director of VietNam Food, Vietnam has 320 million tons of shrimp by-products. If the by-products can be exploited fully, it can make up at least 10 percent of the shrimp industry’s value. However, currently, enterprises only use a part of the by-products. Vietnam can recover 56 percent from by-products, while the average proportion in the world is 75 percent and 95 percent in developed countries.

EVFTA to sustainably boost Vietnam’s wood exports to EU Voice of Vietnam 3rd Jul 2019
Vietnam and the European Union (EU) last week signed a landmark free trade deal that will slash tariffs on almost all goods, including wood and timber products. It is expected to give Vietnamese wood exporters better market access and more opportunities to expand their business. According to the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA), the EU will eliminate duties on many Vietnamese wood and timber products. Before the EVFTA was inked, Vietnam and the EU showed a joint commitment towards the implementation of the deal’s “Trade and Sustainable Development” Chapter, which includes provisions on sustainable forest management and trade in forest products. To implement the VPA/FLEGT, Vietnam is making efforts to develop a timber legality assurance system (VNTLAS) to ensure its exports of timber and timber products come from legal sources, including systems to verify that Vietnamese businesses were only importing timber that had been legally harvested and traded, according to General Director of the Vietnam Administration of Forestry Nguyen Quoc Tri. Vietnam will benefit from wood materials imported from the EU and more importantly, Vietnamese producers will have opportunity to access advanced technology and high-tech machinery and equipment from the EU partners to improve their productivity and product quality, said Nguyen Ton Quyen, Vice President and General Secretary of the Vietnam Timber and Forest Product Association (VIFORES).

ODA for agricultural development nears 2 billion USD in 20 years Voice of Vietnam 3rd Jul 2019
Vietnam has carried out 23 agricultural projects using official development assistance (ODA) worth over 1.96 billion USD, said an official. The figures were released by Le Van Hien, head of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development’s Agricultural Project Management Board (APMB), at a conference held in Hanoi on July 3 to review the two decades of running such projects. Hien said 17 out of the 23 projects were completed, with the rest being underway, benefiting millions of people across 63 provinces and cities nationwide. As heard at the conference, these projects cover the areas of crop cultivation, animal husbandry, aquatic farming, rural infrastructure development and natural disaster prevention, among others. As a result, nearly 5,000km of rural roads, over 700km of canals and ditches, and close to 100km of sea and river dykes, 600 rural markets, and 21 fishery ports have been upgraded. Vu Duc Con, Vice Director of the Dak Lak Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, said a project on farming diversification for 1999 – 2006 had provided capital and technical support for small-scale rubber cultivation to 3,000 local families, particularly those from ethnic minorities.

Ben Tre to expand farming of key aquatic species Voice of Vietnam 3rd Jul 2019
The Mekong Delta province of Ben Tre will invest more than 2.5 trillion VND (107.5 million USD) by 2030 to develop key aquatic species like black tiger shrimp, white-legged shrimp and tra fish, according to the provincial People’s Committee. Vice Chairman of the provincial People’s Committee said of the sum, over 1.89 trillion VND (81.3 million USD) would come from the province’s budget and the remaining from other sources. Ben Tre plans to expand farming of key aquatic species to 37,000ha and their annual output to 402,870 tonnes by 2030. The plan envisages farming black tiger shrimp on 22,500ha, white-legged shrimp on 13,500ha and tra fish on 1,000ha by that year. It aims to increase export of seafood to 200 million USD a year by 2030 from 90 million USD in 2020. The plan envisages 70 percent of shrimp farming households becoming members of cooperatives or cooperative groups that are part of the value chain to stabilise production and demand. Lap said to meet the targets the focus would be on infrastructure for aquaculture, improving the quality of broodstock and expanding the use of advanced farming techniques.

Lychee revenue in Bắc Giang reaches 60-year high of US$262.6 million Vietnam News Agency 2nd Jul 2019
armers in the northern province of Bắc Giang earned revenue of VNĐ6.1 trillion (US$262.6 million) from lychee this year, surpassing records in the past 60 years in terms of value. The total revenue from lychee was VNĐ5 trillion in 2016, VNĐ5.3 trillion in 2017 and VNĐ5.8 trillion in 2018. Farmers in the province have not had to bring their lychee to the market. Traders came to their gardens to buy the fruit. Bùi Văn Cánh in the province’s Lục Ngạn District said they had a bumper lychee crop with high prices this year. There is now a lack of lychee to sell to Chinese traders as it is the end of the season. The lychee output this year in the province reached more than 90,000 tonnes with record prices of VNĐ30,000-50,000, even VNĐ80,000 per kilo. A farmer could earn profits of several hundreds million Vietnamese đồng for their lychee gardens. Some households planting lychee with organic methods enjoyed much higher profits as people were paying up to VNĐ200,000 for a box of 12 lychees with stamps of traceability.

Vietnam says will have African swine fever vaccine 'soon', experts skeptical Tuoi Tre News 2nd Jul 2019
Vietnam said on Tuesday it has had initial success in creating a vaccine to fight African swine fever, which has infected farms throughout the Southeast Asian country and prompted the culling of around 10% of its pig herd. African swine fever - which has spread to Laos and North Korea as well after being detected in China in August 2018 - was first detected in Vietnam in February and has spread to farms in 61 of the country’s 63 provinces.The vaccine, developed at the Vietnam National University of Agriculture, has been tested in its laboratory and at three farms in northern Vietnam, state broadcaster Vietnam Television (VTV) said in a separate report on Tuesday.The complex nature of the virus and gaps in knowledge concerning infection and immunity have so far hindered other global efforts to develop a vaccine against the disease, which is harmless to humans but deadly to pigs.

In Vietnam, company gets ‘special permit’ to sell herbicides containing banned agents Tuoi Tre News 2nd Jul 2019
While herbicides containing two toxic compounds have been banned in Vietnam since February, a company has been found being able to continue selling weedkillers having these illegal agents as their ingredients thanks to a ‘special permit’ from the country’s plant protection watchdog. In February 2017, Vietnam’s Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development confirmed that 2,4D and Paraquat, found in a wide variety of weedkillers popular with farmers across the Southeast Asian country, are dangerous substances that may cause severe damage to human organs, promote formation of cancers, and lead to serious environmental consequences. Enterprises were given two years to empty their stock of the herbicides before the ban took effect on February 8, 2019. However, one herbicide producer has been granted an unusual exemption from the ban, with their plant protection products containing 2,4D and Paraquat allowed to be sold on the market until the end of September 2019, according to data reviewed by Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper.

Trade, investment protection deals between EU and VN signed, starting 'new chapter' Vietnam News Agency 1st Jul 2019
History was made yesterday as Việt Nam and the European Union signed agreements on free trade and investment protection at a ceremony in Ha Noi. The EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA) will ensure the balance of benefits for both Việt Nam and the EU. Once in effect after the European Parliament approves it, the EVFTA will boost Vietnamese exports, especially agriculture and aquaculture and other products in which Việt Nam has comparative advantages.

PM urges Japanese localities to expand ties with Vietnam vietnamplus.vn 1st Jul 2019
Tokyo (VNA) - Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc has called on Japanese localities to further promote trade economic, trade and tourism cooperation with Vietnam, especially in agriculture, support industry, information technology, and tourism. During his separate meetings in Tokyo on July 1 with officials from Chiba and Tochigi prefectures, which have trade and investment activities, and culture exchange with Vietnam, PM Phuc stressed the relationship between localities of the two countries is an effective channel to make  their cooperation more \ effective and practical. Meeting with Wantanabe Michitaro, Mayor of Nasushiobara city of Tochigi prefecture, PM Phuc emphasised that good outcomes of the Vietnam-Japan Extensive Strategic Partnership is due to constant efforts of the two governments and peoples over the years.

Time for locals to enjoy export-quality food Vietnam News Agency 27th Jun 2019
It’s time local people had access to food products that met the same high standards as those the country exported, Deputy Prime Minister Vũ Đức Đam said yesterday at a meeting in Hà Nội. According to Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Nguyễn Xuân Cường, in the first half of the year, co-ordination among the Government, ministries, sectors, localities and social organisations had brought about significant and positive developments for food safety. In the last six months of the year, the Deputy Prime Minister asked agencies to strengthen inspections on food safety, especially at small and individual food sales and processing units. A survey, which interviewed more than 300 people aged 18 to 60 in the country's biggest cities Hà Nội and HCM City, said 86 per cent identified food safety as the most pressing social concern.

Việt Nam develops forestry industry, explores collaboration with US Vietnam News Agency 26th Jun 2019
Việt Nam has been moving towards building a sustainable wood processing industry that uses legal materials in accordance with international and Vietnamese law as well as regulations of major export markets like the US, EU and Japan. In 2018, the country’s exports of wood and forest products reached US$9.4 billion, about 42 per cent of which came from the US. “To make processing wood and forest products a key economic sector, we need co-ordination from the US, especially from suppliers of raw materials,” Tuấn. The Vietnamese Government set a target for the forest products sector to reach $11 billion in exports this year.

Vietnam, Indonesia agree to end use of force on fishers VnExpress 25th Jun 2019
Top Vietnamese and Indonesian defense officials have pledged to treat fishermen of either country humanely, avoiding the use and threats to use force. Vietnam's Deputy Minister of National Defense Nguyen Chi Vinh and Indonesia's Vice Admiral Agus Setiadji discussed on Tuesday the intrusions by fishermen of both countries into the other's territory. Vinh said that due to limited knowledge of maritime laws, many Vietnamese fishermen had strayed into Indonesian waters and violated the country’s laws. "Their purpose was simply to make a living, and they did not mean to violate the laws. Vietnam doesn’t want such incidents to happen," he said. Recently, Indonesia and Vietnam also agreed to speed up maritime delimitation while starting fresh talks to establish "provisional common guidelines" to prevent fishing incidents, the Jakarta Post reported.

Marubeni to build $115 million instant coffee plant in Vietnam VnExpress International 22nd Jun 2019
Japan’s Marubeni Corporation has announced it will build a $115-million instant coffee production plant in the southern province of Ba Ria-Vung Tau. Marubeni will mainly supply the Chinese and Southeast Asian markets where demand for instant coffee is growing. Construction would begin immediately after getting all necessary permits, and commercial operation and supply would commence in 2022. The plant’s initial production capacity will be 16,000 tons a year. Marubeni is a major investor in Vietnam, with interest in thermal power plants like Nghi Son 2, which it owns, and Thai Binh 2, for which it was an engineering, procurement, and construction (EPC) contractor. It is also engaged in export and import of coal, fisheries, coffee, grains, and petrochemicals and production of food and textiles.