Food & Agriculture Update: July 19, 2019

Food & Agriculture Update | July 19, 2019
Authors: Sunita Kapoor, Hai Pham, Aishwarya Murthy & Rachel Forrest
 
LOOKING AHEAD
 
 

August/September 2019: ASEAN Agricultural Attaches Roundtable (Washington, D.C.)

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
 
 

New Minister of Agriculture Appointed in Thailand
On July 10, the new Thai cabinet as nominated by Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha was confirmed. Included in the new cabinet is H.E. Chalermchai Sri-on as the new Minister of Agriculture and Cooperatives (MOAC).  The Deputy Ministers at the MOAC are Thammanat Prompao, Mananya Thaiset and Praphat Phothasuthon. Minister Chalermchai Sri-on is also the Secretary-General of the Democrat Party of Thailand. During their first day in office on July 18th, the new Minister and his deputies expressed their intent to focus on the drought and plummeting crop prices for rice and rubber as their top priorities. They hope to compensate farmers affected by extreme drought damage and assist in providing weather-suitable crops as substitutes. Additionally, they aim to devise either a method of compensation or a price-guarantee program to support rice farmers suffering from high production costs. The Council plans to engage with the new MOAC leaders on their priorities and has requested a meeting with Minister Chalermchai Sri-on during its upcoming Thailand Business Mission on August 13-16.

Modern and Technology-Based Farming Among Key Focuses of 12th Malaysia Plan to Reform Agricultural Sector
The Government of Malaysia’s 12th Malaysia Plan (12MP) includes efforts to increase the utilization of more advanced technologies and the adoption of more modern agricultural practices in the hopes of increasing the global competitiveness of the agricultural sector. Some of the agricultural sector objectives in the 12MP includes reducing vegetable imports by 30% and increasing exports of higher-quality vegetables abroad. Agriculture and Agro-based Industry Secretary-General Datuk Mohd Sallehhuddin Hassan states that technological innovations will be a key aspect of the 12MP to reduce agriculture trade deficit of more than RM18.8 billion or US$4.5 billion computed in 2018. The top trade partners from which Malaysia imports vegetables include Indonesia, China, Argentina, United States and Thailand. The 12MP will be implemented in line with the Industry 4.0 and National Agro-Food Policy 2.0 initiatives in an effort to reduce Malaysia's  dependence on agricultural imports. Engagement sessions began on July 5th to create a more inclusive planning process of 12MP by integrating views of stakeholders, state governments, industry, academics, and non-governmental organizations. The sessions will conclude at the end of August and will attempt to combine top-down and bottom-up approaches of planning to optimize the implementation of 12MP in 2021-2025. With the addition of the 12MP, the Malaysian Government hopes to increase broad based prosperity through attaining the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030. Malaysia currently ranks 25th among U.S. agricultural export markets, with US$1 billion sales of agricultural products in 2018. There has been a 72% increase in agricultural export growth from 2008 (US$595 million) to 2018.

Philippines Bans Laos Pork Imports Due to African Swine Fever
African Swine Fever (ASF) continues to spread across Southeast Asia, resulting in new restrictions on both intra ASEAN trade and internationally. The Philippines has banned the import of all pork products from Laos, where ASF has spread to at least four provinces. The ban was issued on June 24, with no end established. Additionally, the import ban suspends any processing or inspection of Laotian pork products under sanitary and phytosanitary import clearances. The Philippines has not had any ASF cases, but has also banned pork products from 16 countries, including Vietnam in February. Most recently, the Philippine Department of Agriculture banned pork imports from Germany after a shipment was intercepted on June 27 that indicated a threat of contamination by infected Polish pork. The Philippine pork industry is concerned and exhibiting caution, urging for even tighter restrictions moving forward. For pork farmers in Laos, the spread of ASF, accompanied by obstacles in exportation, has been detrimental even for farmers unaffected by the disease as they are also subject to harsher regulations and restrictions. With no vaccine or cure to ASF, it is hard to predict when the issue can be resolved. The Council’s recent analysis on the ASF in Vietnam and Southeast Asia showed that ASF continues to spread across the region despite ongoing efforts by the regional governments to contain it.

 
ADVOCACY UPDATE
 
 

USABC & Elanco Draft Joint White Paper on Options for Addressing Antimicrobial Resistance Risk in Vietnam’s Livestock Industries
The Council and Elanco Animal Health have drafted a white paper which summarizes learnings from Denmark, Malaysia, Thailand, and the U.S. on antimicrobial stewardship and discusses specific local challenges for Vietnam’s livestock industries when considering a way forward. The paper also proposes some practical steps as part of Vietnam’s One Health approach to address agriculture-related AMR risks without compromising food safety, farm profitability or animal health and welfare. The current draft version of the paper can be found here. Please review and provide inputs to Sunita Kapoor (skapoor@usasean.org) by Friday, July 26.

MOU Signed Between USABC & MARD of Vietnam on Strengthening Agriculture Competition 
On June 28th, the Council conducted an Food & Agriculture Industry Mission to Vietnam where a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) was signed between the Council and the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD). The objective of this MOU is to enhance cooperation between the Council and MARD in areas where both Parties share mutual interests and shall cooperate to create an environment that fosters collaboration and regular communication. These priorities include (but are not limited to):

  1. Collaborate to increase two-way agricultural trade, encouraging agricultural investment and enabling inclusive economic growth between the US and Vietnam.
  2. Enhance public information-sharing of across policies, regulations and potential investment opportunities in both countries regarding agricultural trade and investment; assisting prospective foreign direct investment (FDI) projects in the United States of America and Vietnam; and enhanced cooperation in agriculture.
  3. Collaborate to enhance US-Vietnam agricultural economic relationship.

The MOU can be reviewed here. The Council calls on members to provide any proposals for workshops under the auspices of this MOU. Please contact Sunita Kapoor (skapoor@usasean.org) for a discussion. 

 
IN THIS UPDATE
 
 
Brunei
Abang Johari: Sarawak-Brunei collaboration to tap into cyberspace, tourism and agriculture

Cambodia
Oknha Sam Ol arrested over Mondulkiri illegal logging
National committee set to destroy timber vehicles
Two more provinces detect ASF
Balancing pig farmers’ livelihoods and public health
ASF found in Svay Rieng, Takeo

Indonesia
FAO distributes aid to farming and fishing households in Palu - Indonesia
Drought and Massive Crop Failure May Lead to Trillions in Losses
Indonesia May Ban Kratom Exports
FAO disburses aid to farming, fishing households in Central Sulawesi

Laos
US helps Laos expand agriculture networks
U.S. Partners With Lao Farmers To Support, Expand Trade

Malaysia
Modern and technology-based farming among key focuses of 12th Malaysia Plan
SWS ventures into drones, AI to boost Malaysia's agriculture

Myanmar
Farmers complain against sale of false Japanese brand harvesters
Yangon Chief Minister Promises to Find International Markets for Agricultural Products
Kayah Farmers Continue Military Protest, Now in Silence

Philippines
FAO supports Philippines in strengthening climate change adaptation in agriculture - Philippines
Why not a Department of Agribusiness? | BusinessWorld
BoC rice import tariff collections at P5.9 billion
Is the alcohol you're drinking registered with the FDA?
Integrity of PHL’s quarantine protocol
PH signs P44-B agri project deal with Israel
Tawi-Tawi’s Sibutu Island chosen as site for floating solar farm prototype
Philippines to boost Halal industry thru PPP
Report: PHL to buy more imported meat as demand to surpass local output
Farm advocate expects more youth becoming agripreneurs
Rice liberalization to help GDP rise
Duterte inclined to appoint Piñol as Mindanao Dev't Authority chief
Dominguez says gov’t taking ‘close look’ at sugar import liberalization

Thailand
Dept readies farmer support guidelines for govt
New sugar cane bill to be submitted for Cabinet approval
Farmers threaten to protest new sales restrictions

Vietnam
Việt Nam’s forestry sector targets US$11 billion in export
Vietnam dairy producers prosper in CPTPP era
Seafood exports nears 4 billion USD in first half
CEO of state-owned agro firm arrested for property mismanagement
Mekong Delta sugarcane farmers switch en masse to other crops
Veggie, fruit exports rise 3.9 percent in H1
Mekong, south-east regions told to take advantages of technology and favorable climate to develop mushroom production
Trà Vinh produces more peanut seeds in rainy season to meet demand
Central region faces water shortages amid drought
Vietnam’s rice exports drop, causing big worries
Son La avocados make inroads into foreign markets
Product quality improvement key to boosting exports to China
All Vietnam localities but one infected by African swine fever
 
ARTICLE CLIPS
 
 
Brunei

Abang Johari: Sarawak-Brunei collaboration to tap into cyberspace, tourism and agriculture Sharon Ling 9th Jul 2019
Sarawak is exploring opportunities for collaborating with Brunei in the areas of Internet services, tourism and agriculture, says Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg. The Chief Minister said Sarawak's ICT infrastructure company Sacofa Sdn Bhd would work together with Brunei's Datastream Technology Sdn Bhd (DST) in Internet connectivity and services.

Cambodia

Oknha Sam Ol arrested over Mondulkiri illegal logging Phnom Penh Post 10th Jul 2019
Tycoon Soeng Sam Ol, the owner of the Master K Sun company, two supervisors and a driver were arrested on Tuesday for illegal logging in a crackdown in Mondulkiri province which was led by Commander Sao Sokha, the chief of the National Military Police. More than 40 vehicles transporting illegal timber were seized and are set to be torched, National Military Police spokesman Eng Hy said. It is not the first time Sam Ol, who holds the honorific of oknha, has been implicated in illegal logging. Hy told The Post on Tuesday that National Committee for Prevention and Crackdown on National Resources officials arrested Sam Ol and seized the vehicles.

National committee set to destroy timber vehicles Phnom Penh Post 10th Jul 2019
In order to preserve the Kingdom’s forests, the National Committee for Forest Crime Prevention has warned it will take strict action against offenders by burning any vehicles used to transport timber at the crime scene itself. But environmental activists said this course of action would have a negative impact on the livelihoods of poor people in rural areas, especial those whose livelihoods depended on making charcoal. The National Committee for Forest Crime Prevention issued a press release on Monday entitled Taking action against individuals or companies involved in forestry crimes. It said the committee had observed that even after increasing public awareness and constant crackdowns, illegal deforestation and trafficking of timber and forestry products continued.

Two more provinces detect ASF Phnom Penh Post 10th Jul 2019
Blood tests on dead pigs have revealed that African swine fever (ASF) has spread to two other provinces, with cases found in Takeo province’s Angkor Borei district and Svay Rieng province’s Svay Chrum district. Outbreaks of ASF had previously been found in the eastern areas of Ratanakkiri and Tbong Khmum provinces. “The results of blood tests on 27 pigs in Ponlai district’s Ampil village showed they died from ASF. Another 50 pigs in a number of villages in Prey Phkoam commune died, but we cannot confirm whether this was from ASF." “We have carried out control measures. For example, from Monday to Friday last week, provincial, district and village level veterinarians sprayed disinfectant at every house in Ampil village,” Sron said.

Balancing pig farmers’ livelihoods and public health Khmer Times 9th Jul 2019
Balancing pig farmers’ livelihoods and public health African Swine Fever has spread to at least four provinces this year, including Tboung Khmum, where the disease continues to threaten farmers’ livelihoods and raise public health concerns Mien commune, Tboung Khmum province – Nov Savuth continues to feed more than 60 pigs on his small farm in Soy village, despite his livestock facing uncertainty as African Swine Fever has spread to his village. Mr Savuth, 38, and his wife speak of their concerns after hearing of how authorities have suspended pork trade and banned any moving of livestock outside of the village, even if the pigs are in good health. Mr Savuth says he and his wife started raising pigs in 2007, noting that they now have nearly 70 pigs. In addition to raising pigs, he also has a rice field to support his family. With the growing spread of ASF, Mr Savuth and other pig farmers in the village have become uneasy with the new measures implemented by authorities, noting that the limitations are affecting their incomes, which subsequently affect their abilities to pay debt and feed the animals.

ASF found in Svay Rieng, Takeo Khmer Times 8th Jul 2019
ASF found in Svay Rieng, Takeo The Ministry of Agriculture yesterday announced that African Swine Fever has spread to two more provinces, prompting local officials to take urgent measures to contain the outbreak. In March, cases of ASF were detected in Ratanakiri province and it then spread to Tboung Khmum last month. Agriculture Minister Veng Sakhon yesterday said in separate statements that cases have also been detected in the provinces of Svay Rieng and Takeo. Mr Sakhon said that in Svay Rieng, cases were detected in Khang Tboung village in Svay Chrum district’s Kraol Kor commune, while in Takeo, cases were detected in Ampil village in Angkor Borei district’s Ponley commune. He said the General Department of Animal Health and Production must take action by culling ASF-infected pigs, spraying disinfectants, suspending pork trade, and preventing the transportation of the animals within a three-kilometre radius around the affected areas, while pig farms within a 10-kilometre radius must be monitored. The FAO said the spread of ASF raises concerns over food security for millions of people dependent on pig farming. The outbreak is particularly affecting vulnerable subsistence farmers as they usually lack the expertise or funds necessary to protect their herds from the disease.

Indonesia

FAO distributes aid to farming and fishing households in Palu - Indonesia ReliefWeb 14th Jul 2019
The Governor’s office in Central Sulawesi and the Provincial Department of Agriculture organized a special event today in Sigi District to recognize the support being provided by the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations (FAO) to victims of the earthquake and the tsunami that struck on 28th September last year. FAO is collaborating with local government agencies to distribute aid to selected households in Palu, Sigi and Donggala, with agricultural inputs being provided to more than 8000 farming households in 132 villages across 21 sub-districts. The agriculture inputs being distributed include 430 tons of fertilizer, over 7 tons of seeds of maize, tomato, and cayenne pepper, and over 500 thousand meters of plastic mulch. In June, FAO also distributed cash assistance to around 4000 households in 175 villages with pregnant or lactating mothers and children under 5 years old. In July FAO, will provide fishing equipment including nets and cool-boxes to around 3000 households in the affected area. “It is part of our mandate to support emergency relief to restore food production and rebuild the livelihoods of farmers and fishermen in Palu, Sigi and Donggala. We would like to ensure that local people in the affected area are able to resume their normal lives”, said Stephen Rudgard, FAO Representative in Indonesia, in the aid distribution ceremony that was held in Sigi today.

Drought and Massive Crop Failure May Lead to Trillions in Losses Tempo 10th Jul 2019
Chief of the Assessment and Application of Technology Agency (BPPT) Hammam Riza announced that his office is calculating the country’s financial losses from enduring crop failures caused by drought. “It’s still in the form of a proposal. It will predictably reach Rp3 trillion,” said Hammam today, July 10, in Bogor, West Java. He was hard-pressed on finding a solution and mentioned that weather modification technology comes to mind, which is a technology that creates artificial rain. According to the BPPT data, Java, Bali, and West Nusa Tenggara are home to a large number of productive fields compared to other regions across the country – with some already facing the downside of the drought.

Indonesia May Ban Kratom Exports Pain News Network 5th Jul 2019
A possible ban on the growth and export of kratom in Indonesia is raising alarm among kratom users in the U.S. and around the world. About 95% of the world’s supply of kratom comes from Indonesia, where the herbal supplement has become a lucrative cash crop. Kratom leaves are harvested from a tree that grows in southeast Asia, where it has been used for centuries as a natural stimulant and pain reliever. In recent years, millions of Americans have started using kratom to treat pain, addiction, anxiety and depression. Kratom advocates say the U.S. Food and Drug Administration – which opposes the use of kratom for any medical condition – has been lobbying the Indonesian government to ban kratom farming. Current plans by the Indonesian Ministry of Health call for a 5-year transition period to allow kratom growers to shift to other crops. “If this ban is allowed to go into effect, it will effectively end consumer access to kratom in the United States, and the FDA won’t have to do anything more to declare victory in the War on Kratom,” said C. M. “Mac” Haddow, a lobbyist for the American Kratom Association (AKA), a group of kratom vendors and consumers.

FAO disburses aid to farming, fishing households in Central Sulawesi Antara News 2nd Jul 2019
The Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations (FAO) collaborated with the Central Sulawesi Governor’s Office and the Provincial Office of Agriculture to dispense aid to farming and fishing households in Palu, Sigi, and Donggala. The aid was offered to over eight thousand farming households in 132 villages across 21 sub-districts in Central Sulawesi that were afflicted by the earthquake and tsunami that hit in September last year, according to a written statement issued by the FAO and received here on Tuesday. The agricultural assistance being distributed comprised 430 tons of fertilizer; over seven tons of seeds of maize, tomato, and cayenne pepper; and over 500 thousand meters of plastic mulch. In June 2019, the FAO also handed out cash aid to some four thousand households in 175 villages having pregnant or lactating mothers and children below five years of age. In July, the FAO will offer fishing equipment, including nets and cool boxes, to some three thousand households in the affected area.

Laos

US helps Laos expand agriculture networks Asia News Network 12th Jul 2019
The United States has agreed to expand support for Laos through the Creating Linkages for Expanded Agriculture Network (CLEAN) project, which is helping improve the quality of farmers’ products and expand exports. Winrock International on Wednesday signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Department of Agriculture to carry out the CLEAN project in Laos.

U.S. Partners With Lao Farmers To Support, Expand Trade KPL - Lao News Agency 11th Jul 2019
On July 10, 2019 in Vientiane, the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry of the Lao PDR and Winrock International signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to expand programmes designed to strengthen local farmers and expand their markets through the Agriculture Creating Linkages for Expanded Agricultural Networks (CLEAN) project, which is funded by the United States.

Malaysia

Modern and technology-based farming among key focuses of 12th Malaysia Plan The Edge Markets 9th Jul 2019
MELAKA (July 9): The use of technology and the implementation of modern agricultural practices will be among the key aspects addressed under the 12th Malaysia Plan (12MP) which begins in 2021, says Agriculture and Agro-based Industry secretary-general Datuk Mohd Sallehhuddin Hassan. He said the effort was also expected to reduce imports of vegetables by 30%, as well as drive the country's agricultural industry and increase the export of quality vegetables abroad. He said last year, about RM3.3 billion of the RM50.5 billion worth of imports in the food sector comprised vegetables, and the amount was considered to be quite high. "The use of technology and modern agriculture are important aspects of 12MP, in line with the Industrial Revolution 4.0 and the National Agro-Food Policy 2.0 in ensuring that the country's agricultural industry, especially the supply of vegetables, can accommodate current demand and reduce dependence on imports.

SWS ventures into drones, AI to boost Malaysia's agriculture The Edge Markets 9th Jul 2019
Bursa Malaysia-listed manufacturing company SWS Capital Bhd (SWS) is venturing into drones technology, confident that an Industry 4.0 data-driven approach via Artificial Intelligence (AI) to Malaysia's agriculture will boost yields and efficiency for local producers. In a statement, SWS said it inked a memorandum of understanding today with local information technology (IT) company Nexus Union Sdn Bhd with an Options Agreement to purchase 3.44 million shares or a 51% stake in Nexus' 70%-owned subsidiary MATA Aerotech Sdn Bhd valued at RM4.725 million. A MATA Aerotech spokesman said the efficiencies brought on by drone technology would increase yield and incur less harm to the environment.

Myanmar

Farmers complain against sale of false Japanese brand harvesters Eleven Media Group Co., Ltd 10th Jul 2019
Complaint letters have been sent to state leaders and the Competition Commission calling for action against the case in which local farmers were tricked into buying China-made combine harvesters instead of Japan-made ones, said Zaw Ran from the Farmers' Network to The Daily Eleven on July 2.  Copies of the complaint went to the President, the State Counsellor, respective chief ministers and the Competition Commission. Local farmers from five regions came to Yangon on June 28 to discuss the matter with the network. The five regions are Ayeyawady, Yangon, Bago, Mandalay and Sagaing.   

Yangon Chief Minister Promises to Find International Markets for Agricultural Products Myanmar Business Today 8th Jul 2019
U Phyo Min Thein, the Chief Minister of Yangon, has promised local businessmen that he will help find international markets for livestock and agricultural products. At a monthly meeting between local businessmen and the Vice President of Myanmar, the Chief Minister said: “Only the agricultural sector and livestock sectors can boost the country’s GDP. We are currently issuing Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) as a first step to make are agricultural and livestock products acceptable on the international market.”

Kayah Farmers Continue Military Protest, Now in Silence The Irrawaddy 4th Jul 2019
Kayah Farmers Continue Military Protest, Now in Silence Farmers in Demoso Township, Kayah State, hold a silent protest against military land seizures in the middle of town on Thursday, July 4 2019. / Kayah Youth Meeting Point / Facebook Farmers in Demoso Township, Kayah State staged protests in two locations within the township Thursday against what they say are illegal seizures of their land by the Myanmar military (or Tatmadaw). The farmers asked the Tatmadaw to return their land and to release other farmers that have recently been detained. “We do not have any more land to grow food on now that the army has seized all our land. We wanted to show the army how we have been suffering, so we held a protest,” Ka Kar, a leader of one of the protests, told The Irrawaddy Thursday. Dozens joined in silence at the protests, holding handwritten signs demanding their land, a solution to the land use issues that plague the area and the release of previously detained farmers.

Philippines

FAO supports Philippines in strengthening climate change adaptation in agriculture - Philippines ReliefWeb 14th Jul 2019
In a bid to intensify its efforts to cushion the agriculture sector from climate change impacts, the Philippines has joined a multi-country initiative that seeks to strengthen the capacities of governments to plan, fund and operationalize climate response strategies. The “Integrating Agriculture in National Adaptation Plans (NAP-Ag) programme,” which is supported by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), focuses on strategic climate risk management. It also aims to accelerate the uptake of medium- and long-term risk reduction practices across the policy level, the agriculture industry and down to farming and fishing communities. “Climate change is no longer a distant threat. The strong typhoons and droughts we have experienced in recent years have given us a preview of the severe implications it will continue to have on the agriculture sector and the related issues of national interest such as food security, economic growth and the eradication of rural poverty,” said FAO Representative in the Philippines José Luis Fernández.

Why not a Department of Agribusiness? | BusinessWorld Business World 14th Jul 2019
It seems that as often happens, Rodrigo Roa Duterte’s announced “transfer” of Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol to the Mindanao Development Authority is on hold following the announcement by Senator Bong “Rasputin” Go that Piñol is still staying in his Cabinet post because “he has performed well.” I wonder what the basis for this assessment is since all the statistics (contribution to GDP, growth rate, etc.) indicate the dismal state of Philippine agriculture, on which 30% of our families basically depend, and to which most of our poverty incidence belongs. Agriculture has never really been a significant contributor to our economy; and it is hard to believe that in all this time, government leaders cannot seem to wake up to the need to radically rethink the direction for our crucial food production sector. Today, rice importation has been liberalized which has benefited rice consumers, but domestic rice producers are howling. Other piecemeal initiatives are being announced, such as the provision of free irrigation and, incredibly, free farm equipment. If agriculture officials take a look at history, they should realize that when government provides irrigation for free, it helps for a while — until the system breaks down from weather disturbances and lack of maintenance. That is why Irrigators’ Service Associations (ISAs) were organized, to ensure maintenance of the systems. The organized ISAs also required farmer beneficiaries to pay regular fees to fund the maintenance of the systems. The Provision of free farm equipment, I fear, will be a management nightmare. Who is responsible for allocation of time for equipment use? For maintenance? For storage? If management is to be run by government functionaries, I can foresee too many opportunities for graft and corruption.

BoC rice import tariff collections at P5.9 billion Business World 14th Jul 2019
THE BUREAU of Customs (BoC) has collected a total of P5.9 billion in tariffs from 1.43 million metric tons (MT) of rice imported by private traders following the implementation of the Rice Tariffication Law in March, the Department of Finance (DoF) said Thursday. According to the DoF, the Port of Manila generated the highest tariff collections from the rice shipments at P978.51 million, followed by the Manila International Container Port at P942.76 million, then the Port of Cagayan de Oro at P754.13 million. The Port of Davao, meanwhile, collected P703.93 million, based on preliminary data from the BoC. The Rice Tariffication Law removed quantitative restrictions on rice imports while imposing tariffs to fund the Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund (RCEF), which will aid rice farmers in the form of mechanization, credit, education and seed. The RCEF allocation for farmers is P10 billion annually. The DoF said that liberalizing rice imports has made the food more affordable, with a drop of P10 per kilo at retail during the dry-season months.

Is the alcohol you're drinking registered with the FDA? Rappler 10th Jul 2019
As the Philippines Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recalls samples of Cosmic Carabao gin, which they found to contain a high level of methanol, consumers have now been reminded of the importance of exercising caution especially, when it comes to things they ingest. FDA officer-in-charge Dr. Eric Domingo said that Juan Brew, which manufactures Cosmic Carabao, is licensed to manufacture and distribute liquour. But Cosmic Carabao itself has no certificate of product registration. According to the FDA's Center for Food Regulation and Research (CFRR) electronic registation user manual, those seeking to secure a certificate of product registration must fill out an application form through FDA's e-portal, which can be accessed through their website.

Integrity of PHL’s quarantine protocol BusinessMirror 10th Jul 2019
The Department of Agriculture’s reaction to the discovery of banned pork products in a shipment of German meat was swift: It disallowed all other traders from Germany to export their meat products to the country. The measure, which took effect as soon as the agriculture chief announced it, is temporary. However, it will surely hurt because Germany is the second top source of meat imports for the Philippines. The unintentional mistake of one German firm, which resulted in the inclusion of banned Polish pork in its shipments, would certainly cost its counterparts a lot of money. This should serve as a warning to the country’s other trade partners that Manila will not hesitate to impose a blanket ban on their meat products if they violate Philippine quarantine laws. While African swine fever (ASF) is a disease that is fatal only to hogs, it could wipe out stocks in farms and the impact of outbreaks on the country’s food supply could be felt for years.

PH signs P44-B agri project deal with Israel Philippine News Agency 10th Jul 2019
In a bid to strengthen the agriculture industry and support farmers, the Department of Agriculture (DA) closed a deal with the Israeli government for a PHP44-billion loan to complete the proposed solar power plant project. Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol and Israel Ambassador to the Philippines Rafael Harpaz on Tuesday signed the Implementing Agreement (IA) on Agricultural Cooperation at the DA Central Office in Quezon City. The IA on Agricultural Cooperation is the final output of a series of negotiations between Israel and Philippines which started during the visit of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte to Israel in 2018. The project will involve the establishment of 6,200 units of computerized Solar-Powered Irrigation Systems (SPIS) intended to irrigate 500,000 hectares of rice farms and other high-value agricultural products over the next three years.

Tawi-Tawi’s Sibutu Island chosen as site for floating solar farm prototype Business World 10th Jul 2019
The Department of Agriculture (DA) said a prototype floating solar farm funded by the fisheries bureau will be built in Tawi-Tawi Province’s Sibutu Island. Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel F. Piñol said in a social media post that the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources will provide P20 million for the project in cooperation with the Aboitiz Group’s power unit. It is expected to be completed in four months. Mr. Piñol said AboitizPower executives briefed the government on the floating solar farms’ potential for generating power to run ice-making and cold storage facilities in remote fishing communities, thereby helping resolve the issue of post-harvest losses in the fisheries sector because the fresh catch cannot be immediately sold, processed, or stored. The power officials said power can also be stored in batteries to provide light to the fishing communities. The use of floating solar farms allows generators to minimize land use.

Philippines to boost Halal industry thru PPP Sunstar 9th Jul 2019
The Philippines is set to boost its local Halal industry through public-private partnership. Giant players of food companies in the Philippines are already offering Halal-certified products. In addition, there has been a greater collaboration between the public and private sector in pushing towards the goal of promoting Halal. “For the public sector, a whole-of-government approach with varied membership of government agencies in the Halal Export Board was established. This has led to the signing of the Philippine National Halal Certification Scheme last October 2018, as approved by the Halal Export Board,” Lopez added. The Halal Certification Scheme contains the guidelines of certification by the Halal Certification Bodies in the Philippines. This is an integral component of the Philippine Halal Road Map. The road map focuses on research and development, also knowledge management system for Halal. Halal export board member agencies, specifically the National Commission on Muslim Filipinos and Department of Science and Technology, are working on a training module and materials for Halal.

Report: PHL to buy more imported meat as demand to surpass local output BusinessMirror 9th Jul 2019
THE Filipinos’ increasing demand for meat products, which will be driven by the improvement in their purchasing power, will outpace local production and force the country to import more to meet domestic requirement by 2028. The United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) made this projection in a joint report, titled “Agricultural Outlook 2019-2028,” published on Monday. The report indicated that Philippine meat production would increase at an annualized rate of 1.85 percent from 2019 to 2028 “due to rapidly increasing domestic demand” for animal protein products. However, the rate is slower compared to the annual production growth rate of 2.75 percent posted by the local livestock and poultry sector from 2009 to 2018. By 2028, the country’s total meat output is projected to reach 4.276 million metric tons, 22.03 percent higher than the average production of 3.504 MMT in 2016 to 2018. Despite the expected increase in domestic output, this will not be enough to meet the country’s meat requirement, which may expand by 2.27 percent annually from 2019 to 2028. The country’s meat consumption will rise 28.67 percent to 5.197 MMT by 2028, from the estimated 4.039 MMT. The double-digit growth in meat demand translates into a 0.90-percent average growth in the per-capita consumption from 2018 to 2027.

Farm advocate expects more youth becoming agripreneurs BusinessMirror 7th Jul 2019
THE Filipino farmer is going to be a vanishing breed in the next few years, unless the Philippines develops a new breed of farmers to enhance the country’s food security program. With an average age of farmers at 57, doing so will definitely be a Herculean challenge. However, there is a silver lining in Philippine agriculture as Filipinos, like Christine Jodloman, are taking up the cudgels to infuse young blood into agriculture. Jodloman, 23, a native of North Cotabato, Mindanao, will represent the Philippines in the Youth Ag Summit, an international conference funded by Bayer Ag. The 2019 summit will take place in Brasília, Brazil, from November 4 to 6, in partnership with Nuffield Brazil. Jodloman, an agriculture and food-security advocate, has founded two youth movements, namely, Palay and Food Secure Philippines. She is dedicated to empower rural-farming communities to be “food-secure,” healthy and business-minded through an agriculture entrepreneurship, or “agripreneurship,” program.

Rice liberalization to help GDP rise The Manila Times Online 5th Jul 2019
Rice liberalization to help GDP rise THE liberalization of rice imports would have a positive impact on the Philippine economy, the preliminary results of a study by the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) and the International Food Policy Research Institute (Ifpri) showed. In a statement on Thursday, NEDA said that “under [the] 35-percent tariff rate, [the country’s] GDP (gross domestic product) would improve by 0.44 percentage points,” adding that “[t]he agriculture sector would expand as there would be more crop diversification — as uncompetitive rice areas shift to other high-value crops with relatively higher net returns.” The study results came almost five months after the signing into law of Republic Act 11203 or the Rice Liberation Act. This law replaced the system of quantitative restrictions on rice imports with a purely tariff-based one as part of the government’s efforts to ensure that the country has sufficient rice supply at relatively lower prices. RA 11203 also mandates the creation of a Rice Comprehensive Enhancement Fund that provides P10 billion annually for six years to ensure that duties collected from rice imports would help local farmers. “Before the rice tariffication law was passed, the government had been monopolizing the rice trade. This setup had been restricting the flow of private funds going to the sector,” NEDA Undersecretary for Policy and Planning Rosemarie G. Edillon said. According to her, rice liberalization would positively impact the agriculture sector and the country’s economy in the coming years. “We have conducted similar studies on this. But we want a model that integrates climate change into farmers’ decisions,” she said. NEDA said that, with rice tariffication in place, increasing investments in research and development in agriculture and investing in irrigation, among others, can increase rice yields and farm productivity in the long run.

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.

Dominguez says gov’t taking ‘close look’ at sugar import liberalization 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.

Thailand

Dept readies farmer support guidelines for govt Bangkok Post 8th Jul 2019
The Internal Trade department is preparing guidelines for the income guarantee scheme for four crops -- rice, maize, oil palm and cassava -- to submit to the government. Director-general Whichai Phochanakij said the department will hand its proposal to the new commerce minister, expected to be Jurin Laksanavisit, leader of the Democrat Party, which advocated income guarantees as part of its election manifesto. The guidelines will cover the reference price calculation method, the registration process and budget allocation.

New sugar cane bill to be submitted for Cabinet approval The Nation Thailand 8th Jul 2019
The Office of Cane and Sugar Board (OCSB) is soon to submit a new Cane and Sugar bill to the Agriculture Ministry for comment before it goes to the Council of State for endorsement. OCSB secretary general Worawan Chitaroon said that when the bill has been endorsed by the Council of State, it will be forwarded to the Cabinet for deliberation and approval to replace the outdated Cane and Sugar Act of B.E. 2527. Among other things, the new bill will allow sugar cane to be used as a material for other products rather than for only making sugar and will also do away with provisions that violate the regulations of the World Trade Organisation, she said.

Farmers threaten to protest new sales restrictions Bangkok Post 3rd Jul 2019
Farmers with the Thai Agriculturalists Association threatened to protest against a government policy that would prevent them from selling their unpolished grains to rice mills outside of their designated agricultural zones. Pramote Charoensilp, the president of the Thai Agriculturalists Association, said on Tuesday the planned policy and limitations will infringe on the rights of farmers.  

Vietnam

Việt Nam’s forestry sector targets US$11 billion in export Vietnam News Agency 10th Jul 2019
Việt Nam’s export of timber and wood products is expected to reach US$11 billion this year, said Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Nguyễn Xuân Cường. Cường said export value reached $5.23 billion in the first half of this year, up 20 per cent compared with the same period in 2018. “The increase of exports of timber and wood products have contributed to creating jobs and reduced the pressure of the growth for husbandry and planting areas,” Cường said. Speaking at a conference in Hà Nội last week, he said 2019 had proved challenging because of the US-China trade tensions and changes in the world economy, which had had an impact on agriculture, something he said the ministry saw coming. He said the sector must build an appropriate policy framework for sustainable forest fire prevention and develop forest protection projects for each region.

Vietnam dairy producers prosper in CPTPP era VietNamNet 10th Jul 2019
Vietnam-made dairy products, which have certain advantages in the home market, continue to be prosperous. Vietnam’s dairy products are exported to 43 markets, including choosy ones such as the US, France, Canada, Poland, the Middle East and Southeast Asia, with value of $250-300 million a year in the last three years.Domestic dairy producers have been scaling up their production and business over the last two years, despite the warning that the industry would be under pressure in the context of CPTPP. The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) of Vietnam and the General Administration of Customs of China last April signed a protocol, considered a legal framework for Vietnam’s dairy producers to export products to China.The representatives of the two sides are discussing procedures on code granting and veterinary quarantine form to implement the protocol.Vietnam plans to invite Chinese officials to visit and examine the operation at Vietnam’s dairy factories before exporting the first consignments of products.

Seafood exports nears 4 billion USD in first half Voice of Vietnam 10th Jul 2019
Vietnam’s seafood export turnover in June reached 794 million USD, raising the total value for the first half of the year to nearly 4 billion USD, up 0.3 percent year on year, according to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development’s Agro Processing and Market Development Authority (AgroTrade). China, Japan, the Republic of Korea and the US were the largest importers of Vietnamese seafood, accounting for 55.1 percent of the total export value. Vietnamese firms have more chances to boost seafood exports to the US as many imports from China, including high value added seafood, have been subject to a 25 percent tariff in the North American country. In the short term, experts suggested local exporters to sell more shrimp in the US as the US Department of Commerce (DoC) has already removed the anti-dumping duty on Vietnamese frozen shrimp. The preliminary duty of 4.58 percent has been scrapped for 31 local exporters following the DoC’s 13th Period of Review (POR13), which reviewed the anti-dumping tariff on shrimp imports from Vietnam.

CEO of state-owned agro firm arrested for property mismanagement VnExpress International 6th Jul 2019
The CEO of Saigon Agricultural Corporation (Sagri) was arrested Saturday for alleged longstanding violations of state-owned property. Le Tan Hung, 56, the dismissed CEO of Sagri, a wholly state-owned agro-forestry and fisheries company, is facing charges of "violations in the management and use of state-owned property that led to losses or wastefulness," the Ministry of Public Security said. Hung was suspended from his post as the company's CEO on June 13 and fired a week later, for committing "very serious" wrongdoings related to fnance, investment and land use while managing the company. Inspectors said Hung illegally signed expenses of more than VND13 billion ($556,000) for Sagri employees’ overseas study trips.

Mekong Delta sugarcane farmers switch en masse to other crops VietNamNet 4th Jul 2019
The area under sugarcane in the Cuu Long (Mekong) Delta has shrunk dramatically during the 2019-20 crop after many farmers switched to other crops following losses in recent years. In Long An Province, it has fallen to 3,800ha from 12,000ha in peak years. Ben Luc District, which has the largest area under the crop in Long An, is planting 3,000ha. Nguyen Hue, who has planted sugarcane for many years in its Luong Hoa Commune, said he has reduced his sugarcane growing area to 6ha after making losses in recent years. He is growing the sugarcane this time from old roots since he does not want to spend more on new seedlings, he said. Huynh Van Thao, head of the bureau, said farmers suffered heavy losses after sugarcane prices fell for two consecutive years.

Veggie, fruit exports rise 3.9 percent in H1 Voice of Vietnam 9th Jul 2019
Vietnam’s vegetable and fruit export value hit 2.06 billion USD in the first six months of 2019, up 3.9 percent year-on-year, said the Agro Processing and Market Development Authority under the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development. Of the figure, vegetable exports raked in 272 million USD, an increase of 1.1 percent, while fruit exports stood at 1.6 billion USD, rising 11.9 percent compared to the previous year. China remained the leading market of Vietnam’s fruit and vegetable exports, accounting for 73.11 percent of market share with more than 1.31 billion USD, an increase of 1.05 percent in value against the same period last year.

Mekong, south-east regions told to take advantages of technology and favorable climate to develop mushroom production Vietnam News Agency 9th Jul 2019
The Mekong Delta and south-eastern regions have great potential for growing mushroom year round thanks to their favorable climate and availability of vast quantities of agricultural by-products that can be used as inputs, according to the National Agricultural Extension Center. Trần Văn Khởi, acting director of the centre, told a forum on hi-tech mushroom production held in An Giang Province last week that it has developed in southern provinces, generating good incomes for farmers. They grow 16 kinds of mushrooms with an annual output of 250,000 tonnes, earning US$25-30 million from exports.

Trà Vinh produces more peanut seeds in rainy season to meet demand Vietnam News Agency 9th Jul 2019
The Cửu Long (Mekong) Delta province of Trà Vinh has expanded production of peanut growing during the rainy season to meet demand for seeds and raise farmers' incomes. The province, which is one of the delta’s largest peanut producers, produces only 15-25 per cent of peanut seeds and has to buy the rest from south-eastern and central regions. Seventeen farming households in Cầu Ngang’s Long Sơn Commune participated in the model and grew a total of 4.5ha of peanut seeds. Under the pilot model, financial support was given to participating households to cover the cost of peanut seeds for cultivation and 30 per cent of the cost of fertilizer. The farmers also received instruction in growing techniques suited to the rainy season.

Central region faces water shortages amid drought Vietnam News Agency 9th Jul 2019
Prolonged hot weather in the central region has caused low water levels in reservoirs and dams, seriously affecting agricultural production and the daily lives of local residents. Many reservoirs in the central province of Quảng Trị have recorded receding water levels at less than 35 per cent of their storage capacity, threatening crops on nearly 2,500ha of land. Trần Hồng Quang, director of Quảng Bình Irrigation One-member Limited Company, said the water level at irrigation works in Quảng Bình Province has fallen to a record low. Only three out of 17 reservoirs were at capacity and the rest were sitting at 40-50 per cent of storage capacity, meaning that nearly 1,700ha of summer-autumn rice lacked water, he said. Thừa Thiên-Huế Province faces a similar problem. More than 130ha of summer-autumn rice was seriously damaged by the drought.

Vietnam’s rice exports drop, causing big worries VietNamNet 9th Jul 2019
Over the last 10 years, rice exports have brought $2-3 billion to Vietnam a year. However, they are facing difficulties in nearly all key markets this year. The problem is that importing countries are reducing imports and trying to become self-reliant in rice production. The US Department of Agriculture predicted the increase in rice output in nearly all countries, including Thailand (138,000 tons), India (2.87 milion tons), Cambodia (79,000 tons), Bangladesh (2.35 million tons) and Indonesia (100,000 tons). The global total rice output in the 2018/2019 crop, as estimated by the agency, may hit 499 million tons, increasing by 4.2 million tons over 2018. Meanwhile, the import demand decreases, at 46.98 million tons, down by 561,000 tons over the last year because big importers all cut imports.

Son La avocados make inroads into foreign markets Voice of Vietnam 9th Jul 2019
The northwestern mountainous province of Son La is striving to export approximately 50 tons of avocados with an estimated export value of US$50,000 during the harvest season to markets such as China, the UAE, Japan, and the Republic of Korea. Son La province is home to an avocado cultivation area of more than 1,000 hectares with an expected output of nearly 4,000 tons this year. This year's harvest season lasts between July and September According to local farmers, an avocado can weigh between one and 2.2 kilos with the average price of an avocado ranging between VND30,000 and VND35,000 per kilo.

Product quality improvement key to boosting exports to China Voice of Vietnam 9th Jul 2019
As China is a lucrative market for Vietnamese exporters, meeting its import standards is important for the Southeast Asian country to capture larger market share, according to the insiders. According to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Vietnam has favourable conditions to cultivate high-quality farm produce, which has been qualified for shipments to 180 markets worldwide, with China being a large and traditional trade partner. The ministry has ordered competent agencies and localities to zone off land for the development of material areas, and grant codes to growing areas that meet food safety and hygiene. Besides, due attention should be paid to processing, packaging and post-harvest preservation to satisfy import criteria by China. Meanwhile, the Ministry of Industry and Trade has recommended exporters to meticulously study the Chinese market to define key shipments and key export areas.

All Vietnam localities but one infected by African swine fever - VnExpress International VnExpress International 8th Jul 2019
The southern province of Tay Ninh has become the latest in Vietnam to be infected with African swine fever, leaving only Ninh Thuan Province left uninfected. The southern province’s first outbreak was reported Saturday, said the Tay Ninh Farming and Veterinary Department. A farmer in Thanh Long Commune, Chau Thanh District, reported that 10 of her family’s 16 pigs died abnormally. Tests later showed that her pigs were infected with African swine fever. The remaining pigs were culled on Sunday to prevent the disease from spreading.

June's pepper exports up 58.8 per cent Vietnam News Agency 8th Jul 2019
Việt Nam exported 35,000 tonnes of pepper in June worth US$85 million, increasing by 58.5 per cent in volume and 20 per cent in value year-on-year. The price of pepper in the Vietnamese market is increasing following the world price, up from 1.1 per cent to 4.5 per cent compared with that of the previous month. In the first half of this year, Việt Nam exported 181,000 tonnes of black pepper, recording revenue of $461 million, down by 25.7 per cent year on year. The department forecasts that in the coming months, pepper exports may face difficulties due to Brazil and Indonesia preparing for their main harvest. In the world market, the June pepper prices increased despite abundant supply. The upward trend is expected not to last long due to oversupply pressure.

Agriculture sector will boost seafood, forestry production in H2 Vietnam News Agency 8th Jul 2019
The agricultural sector in the second half of this year will focus on the development of commodities that have potential in production and export growth such as seafood and forestry products, said Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Nguyễn Xuân Cường. Especially, fishery and forestry industries have many opportunities to support the sector in achieving its growth targets in gross domestic product (GDP) and exports for the whole year, he said. The global prices of seafood products are not high, but the fishery industry still has a chance to increase its revenue. Therefore, the sector will focus on developing these two products in the second half of this year, Cường said. The forestry industry will focus on increasing timber production by over 8 per cent, meeting the demand for processing and exporting. The signing of the Việt Nam-EU Free Trade Agreement on June 30, 2019 will also create many opportunities on trading agricultural products between the two sides.

Bình Thuận sees jump in fish catch Vietnam News Agency 8th Jul 2019
The south-central province of Bình Thuận has caught and bred more than 100,000 tonnes of fish and other aquatic species in the first half of the year, up 2.02 per cent against the same period last year. Favourable weather and the appearance of a large quantity of pelagic fish in waters offshore contributed to the increase. Fishermen in the province, one of the country's largest fishing grounds, caught 93,000 tonnes of aquatic species in the period, up 2 per cent against the same period last year. The caught aquatic species include anchovies, herring, tunas, cuttlefish, blue-legged crabs, clams and others, according to the province's Department of Agriculture and Rural Development. The province targets catching 210,000 tonnes of fish and other aquatic species this year.

Vietnam's banana exports go up, join $17 billion glass bam market VietNamNet 7th Jul 2019
Bananas have become a new key export item in Vietnam’s agricultural sector. At farms of Huy Long An Company, harvested bananas go to the processing area where they are cleaned, packed and put into boxes. From there, they will be shipped to Japan, South Korea, China and Malaysia. In 2014, Vo Quan Huy, director of Huy Long An, decided to invest $4 million to grow 200 hectares of bananas. One year later, he began exporting bananas, mostly to Asian markets. He said the banana import turnover globally is $15-17 billion per year. Japan is the biggest importer, 1.2 million tons a year, while South Korea imports 1 million and China 1 million. Previously, Huy Long An exported 2-3 containers of bananas a week, but now it exports 10 containers, of which 4 40-feet (15-20 tons) containers go to Japan.

Vietnam domestic coffee prices flat as low stocks hit transactions Tuoi Tre News 5th Jul 2019
Vietnam’s local coffee prices stayed flat from last week on Thursday in low trade, as farmers had almost sold out their stocks. Farmers in the Central Highlands, Vietnam’s largest coffee growing area, sold coffee at 35,000 dong ($1.51) per kg on Thursday, unchanged from a week ago. “There’s not much coffee left out there and so we can’t sign new export contracts for delivery during the rest of the current crop year,” a Central Highlands-based trader said. The current 2018/19 crop year will officially end at the end of September. Farmers will start the new harvest in October. Traders in Vietnam offered 5% black and broken grade 2 robusta at a $90 per tonne premium to the November contract, narrowing from $110-$120 last week.

China receives nearly three-quarters of Vietnam’s vegetable, fruit exports VietNamNet 5th Jul 2019
China remained Vietnam’s largest importer of vegetables and fruits, accounting for 72.6% of Vietnam’s total export revenue from these products in the first five months of this year. Vietnam generated US$1.76 billion from vegetable and fruit exports in the five-month period, including US$1.28 billion from the Chinese market. China was followed by the European Union with US$60.16 million, accounting for 3.4% of Vietnam’s total revenue from vegetable and fruit exports and increasing 39.7% year-on-year. The ASEAN market came third with US$59 million, followed by the United States with over US$58 million and South Korea with US$55 million. The heavy dependence on the Chinese market has put local vegetable and fruit exports at risk. Vietnam’s dragon fruit, watermelon and durian have recently faced price plunges as China has suspended purchases.

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.

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.

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.