Food & Agriculture Update: August 16, 2019

Food & Agriculture Update | August 16, 2019
Authors: Sunita Kapoor, Hai Pham and Rachel Forrest
 
LOOKING AHEAD
 
 

August 28/29, 2019: Food & Agriculture Quarterly Committee Call
Please join us for the 2019 Food & Agriculture Quarterly Committee Call to review the committee's recent programs, ongoing advocacy efforts, and upcoming activities. Topics will include a discussion on the upcoming ASEAN Ministers of Agriculture and Forestry Meeting (AMAF) on October 15-16 in Brunei, a potential Food & Agriculture Industry Mission to Indonesia in Q4, and F&A committee issues and policy recommendations outlined in the Council's AEC White Paper. 

September 23, 2019: ASEAN Agricultural Attaché Roundtable (Washington, D.C.)
On September 23, the US-ASEAN Business Council will organize its annual engagement with the ASEAN Agricultural Attachés in Washington, D.C. This meeting is an opportunity for members to touch base with the attachés, exchange views, ideas and priorities, and explore opportunities for collaboration. If you have any questions, or to submit a specific topic for discussion, please contact Hai Pham at hpham@usasean.org

October 15-16, Brunei: 2019 Business Mission to the 41st ASEAN Ministerial Meeting on Agriculture & Forestry (AMAF)
Please save the date for the US-ASEAN Business Council's 2019 Business Mission to the 41st ASEAN Ministerial Meeting on Agriculture and Forestry (AMAF) in Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei. The Business Mission will take place on Tuesday, 15 October to Wednesday, 16 October, 2019. Delegates joining the mission should expect to arrive by Monday, 14 October for a F&A Committee Meeting. Official invitation and registration details to follow. 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
 
 

Philippines Appoints New Agriculture Secretary

Following Emmanuel Piñol’s resignation as Agriculture Secretary in June, President Rodrigo Duterte has appointed William Dar as the acting Agriculture Secretary. Emmanuel Piñol is confirmed to switch cabinet positions and will now lead the Mindanao Development Authority for the next six years. Acting Secretary Dar was formerly a Director-General of the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT), which conducts research on rural development and agriculture. Dar also served as the Agriculture Secretary from 1998-1999 during the Administration of former President Joseph Ejercito Estrada. Dar was awarded the Outstanding Filipino Award from President Duterte for his achievements at ICRISAT.

Many have voiced concern over the agriculture sector’s burden on the Philippines’ economy, as well as the large number of impoverished farmers and fishers. In his new role, Secretary Dar hopes to improve the lives of impoverished agriculture laborers, while increasing food production over the next 3 years. Dar aims to accommodate the Philippines population’s steady growth rate of 1.8% by reaching 3-4% growth in the agricultural industry, noting that the agricultural sector only grew 1% in 2018. Dar hopes to achieve this growth rate by implementing reforms including modernization and industrialization of agriculture, promotion of exports, infrastructure development, and legislative support.

The Council has previously met Secretary Dar during the 2017 Food & Agriculture Industry Mission to the Philippines and looks forward to continuing to build on this relationship.

Smart Agriculture Land Use to Combat Climate Change

A new report by the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change specifies how the integration of smarter land use agriculturally can serve as a positive solution and response to climate change. The report sites land diversification as one of the best ways to fight climate change. Land diversification intends to enhance food productivity while mitigating climate change by increasing agriculture innovation and soil carbon content, which in turn enhances food security and slows down land degradation. Being able to produce greater quantities of a diversified food supply in smaller plots of land has also been pursued by agriculture industries of ASEAN.

In Cambodia, drones have been implemented in order to ease the backbreaking work of farmers. This has decreased the environmental cost of pesticides of improved the quality of soil content by allowing the drones to carry higher concentrated pesticides that reduce excess spray. The drone technology can minimize human labor and error, resulting in pesticides that are less invasive on the natural quality of the soil.

The implementation of Vietnamese Good Agricultural Practices (VietGAP) standards in Vietnam allow for smarter farm models. Ca Mau province has implemented clean farming for shrimp and rice in order to utilize intensive farming techniques to optimize output. In conjunction with Biofloc technology, shrimp farmers are now able to increase water quality and decrease land and feed waste. Biofloc farming also limits inefficiency and resource misuse by preventing agricultural diseases from spreading. Through the ability to use advanced methods to intensify dense quantities of shrimp and rice, land is preserved which limits farming’s negative effects on climate change.

Thailand Moves to Ban Three Chemicals by Year’s End

Thailand’s Deputy Agriculture Minister Manunya has announced the Ministry’s plan to ban three agricultural chemicals by the end of this year. The three chemicals, paraquat, chlorpyrifos, and glyphosate, are strongly opposed by consumer, civic groups, and environmentalists. Manunya hopes to reexamine relevant laws and measures to increase protection and health of citizens exposed to the chemicals through direct use contamination. The first draft proposal for a new chemical law to replace the existing Hazardous Substance Act (HAS) to oversee chemical management was first released on April 23. A review of the act and chemical zoning bans will be held on August 20.

On August 11, Manunya ordered a suspension of permit provisions with the intent to review and ban the chemicals within a month, citing concern over farmer and consumer health. Previously, the Ministry of Agriculture imposed strict control and training for farmers using the chemicals but opposed a complete ban. Currently, the Public Health Ministry has supported civic groups who call for the complete ban. Manunya urges a speedy ban, arguing that Thailand is behind in comparison to many nations which have already banned the chemicals. Paraquat has been banned in 53 countries, while chlorpyrifos and glyphosate have experienced just as many bans and restrictions across the world, including a chlorpyrifos restriction from termite control in Singapore in 2009.

 
ADVOCACY UPDATE
 
 

Food & Agriculture Statistics in ASEAN Project

The Council’s Food & Agriculture Team is currently working on an internal project, collating key statistics for the Food & Agriculture sector in ASEAN. This will be useful for the Council’s leaders and mission delegates during our various food & agriculture related industry missions, workshops, roundtables, and position papers during missions. Please review the current work in progress (link here), and let us know if there are any other key indicators and/or sources/references that should be included. Please contact Sunita Kapoor (skapoor@usasean.org) for a discussion.

 
IN THIS UPDATE
 
 
Regional Affairs
4 ways to be smarter about land use to fight climate change

Brunei
HM: Steering committee set up to support youth entrepreneurship

Cambodia
Ministry releases crops report
Tiny Loans Lead to Bigger Debts, Land Losses in Cambodia

Indonesia
Indonesia needs to use more hybrid seeds too boost rice production: CIPS
Farmers' salt fails to meet industry standards: Minister
West Java invites UK's Finlays on plantation visit to promote unique teas abroad
UAE intends to invest in Central Kalimantan's food crops

Malaysia
FAMA aims to improve quality, meet demand for durians in China
Dairy farm stint for vocational students | Daily Express Online - Sabah's Leading News Portal
Govt to introduce bamboo community farming under 12MP

Myanmar
African Swine Suspected in Eastern Myanmar

Philippines
The man for agri 
Farmers group seeks better financing to boost agriculture
Former DA chief apologizes to farmers, fisherfolks
Senator Villar welcomes Dar with challenge to ‘return’ tariffication funds to rice farmers
Duterte warns farmers against using land benefits for illegal drugs
LANDBANK targets agrarian reform farmers with P5-B loan program 
DAR to N.F.A.: Sell rice stocks to boost funds 
New DA chief wants to double farmers’ income 
‘RCEF will be used well, fast for farmers’
PhilMaize to seek new DA chief’s help as rice-corn blend project hits snag 
Duterte names acting heads of agriculture and budget departments 

Singapore
Singapore hit by farm-to-market food losses worth $2.54b

Thailand
Price caps for cash crops in the works

Vietnam
Businesses seek ways to boost food export
Ca Mau expands use of advanced farming techniques
Vietnam mulls seasonal fishing ban to replenish stock
Sóc Trăng eyes expansion of net-house vegetable farming
Agriculture insurance saves farmers from crop losses
Bình Phước buries dead sick pigs
Chinese farm produce market choosier, causing concern among exporters
Vietnam warned of becoming dumping ground for beef
 
ARTICLE CLIPS
 
 
Regional Affairs

4 ways to be smarter about land use to fight climate change Vox 9th Aug 2019
The huge new report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change on land use is finally out. The conclusions are stark: We are changing the Earth’s lands so drastically that our survival is now threatened. Though the report rounds up the best science on various climate horrors from intensifying heat waves and dust storms to growing food insecurity, it also devotes an entire 300-page chapter to evaluating land-based solutions and responses to climate change and land degradation.

Brunei

HM: Steering committee set up to support youth entrepreneurship Biz Brunei 4th Aug 2019
A youth entrepreneurship steering committee led by the government has been set up to support young Bruneians to start and grow their own businesses, said His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam. In his address on Brunei’s 14th National Youth Day celebrations at ICC yesterday, His Majesty said the committee would monitor and implement initiatives to facilitate the growth of youth-lead businesses from the starting up stage to being competitive internationally.

Cambodia

Ministry releases crops report Phnom Penh Post 7th Aug 2019
A ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries report said the Kingdom cultivated over 2.3 million hectares of rice during this year’s rainy season, but Minister Veng Sakhon expressed concern over the abnormal weather. The ministry’s report on crop cultivation and agricultural exports was posted on Sakhon’s Facebook page on Monday. It said rice was grown on 2,326,910ha of land, of which 2,137,758ha had been successfully harvested.

Tiny Loans Lead to Bigger Debts, Land Losses in Cambodia VOA 6th Aug 2019
The rapid rise of tiny loans aimed at helping poor Cambodians has led to more debt, with many borrowers forced to sell land, migrate or put their children to work, human rights groups said on Wednesday. The Southeast Asian nation has about 2.4 million borrowers with $5.4 billion in outstanding microloans, and among the world’s biggest average loan sizes, according to a report from human rights groups Licadho and Sahmakum Teang Tnaut (STT). High interest rates, the use of land titles as collateral, and pressure to repay loans have led to a “predatory form of lending” by microfinance institutions (MFIs), they said.

Indonesia

Indonesia needs to use more hybrid seeds too boost rice production: CIPS The Jakarta Post 7th Aug 2019
Indonesia needs to increase the use of hybrid seeds as part of its long-term national food strategy to meet a surge in rice demand, the Center for Indonesian Policy Studies (CIPS) has said. CIPS further recommended that the government give more support to hybrid rice research centers that are seeking to create new variants of hybrid seeds by, for example, offering them incentives. By supporting these researchers, Indonesia can reduce its dependence on imported hybrid seeds, CIPS senior researcher Indra Krishnamurti said in a discussion in Jakarta on Tuesday. "In the future, the sustainability of local research can maintain and expand the development of hybrid rice in Indonesia."

Farmers' salt fails to meet industry standards: Minister The Jakarta Post 7th Aug 2019
The wholesale purchase of domestically produced salt for manufacturing purposes is expected to remain stagnant this year even though demand has actually increased, with the quality of salt produced by local farmers failing to meet industry standards. Domestic demand for industrial salt is estimated to stand at 3.5 million tons per year, but the Industry Ministry has revealed that it would distribute only 1.1 million tons of domestic salt for manufacturing purposes for the 2019-2020 period. The target remains unchanged from the previous period when the realized figure barely missed the target at 1.05 million tons. 

West Java invites UK's Finlays on plantation visit to promote unique teas abroad The Jakarta Post 5th Aug 2019
Finlay Tea Holdings (Finlays), a multinational company based in London that specializes in tea products, is to visit several tea plantations in West Java later this month to learn about the uniqueness of the province's tea varieties, especially white tea, which has gained popularity overseas. West Java Governor Ridwan Kamil said last Friday during an event in Bandung that he had invited the company to visit tea plantations in the province during his visit to England in July. West Java's tea products had yet to attract large foreign buyers because of the lack of marketing among local plantation companies, said Ridwan. He said that marketing through conventional methods was no longer enough to attract foreign buyers. Tea producers should be innovative and be knowledgeable about the cultures of the countries where they planned to export their products, he said.

UAE intends to invest in Central Kalimantan's food crops Antara News 5th Aug 2019
The UAE will invest in Indonesia. One of the regions they want to observe is Central Kalimantan. However, this has nothing to do with a plan to move the capital of Indonesia to the province. The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has sent a delegation to Central Kalimantan in Indonesia to observe several areas as a follow up to a plan to invest in food crops in the province. The UAE delegation, along with the director general of plantations and the chief of research and development center of the Agriculture Ministry, visited the areas.

Malaysia

FAMA aims to improve quality, meet demand for durians in China The Edge Markets 8th Aug 2019
The Federal Agricultural Marketing Authority (FAMA) is confident of improving the quality and output of Musang King durians to meet the demand from China. Its chairman, Ishak Ismail said to meet the target, FAMA had drawn up various strategies including assisting durian farmers in developing their farms and building durian processing centres. He told reporters at the launch of the Agriculture and Agro-Industry Ministry’s Durian Sale and Meet-Customers Day event held at the FAMA office here, today, that the five-year plan was to meet 10 percent of the demand for the ‘King of Fruits’ from China.

Dairy farm stint for vocational students | Daily Express Online - Sabah's Leading News Portal Daily Express 7th Aug 2019
Lecturers and students from five Vocational Colleges visited Datuk Yap Yun Fook’s Evergreen Livestock farm in Bomboi, here, on Saturday. They were Lahad Datu Sabah, Teluk Intan Perak, Chemor Pahang, Datuk Maharaja Lela of Negeri Sembilan and Pasir Putih Kelantan. Director of the Education and Vocational and Training Division of the Ministry of Education, Zainuren Mohd Nor led the group. “The visit is to learn how the livestock process is carried out on the farm as well as learn how the farming system works.

Govt to introduce bamboo community farming under 12MP www.thesundaily.my 5th Aug 2019
Bamboo community farming will be introduced by the government under the 12th Malaysia Plan (12MP) and include in-situ processing facilities to create more value-added activities along the supply chain of the industry. Primary Industries Minister Teresa Kok Suh Sim (pix) said her ministry was currently looking at the possibility of establishing commercial nurseries to ensure an adequate supply of planting materials for bamboo plantations in the country. “At the ministry level, we have been having some discussions on the industry and want to work with state governments... so, I am planning to visit some menteris besar, in whose states, bamboo grows naturally,” she added.

Myanmar

African Swine Suspected in Eastern Myanmar The Irrawaddy 7th Aug 2019
More than 2,000 pigs have been culled in Mong La Special Region 4’s Silu and Maing Ma regions in the eastern Shan State of Myanmar as of Wednesday, after nearly 500 pigs died from what is suspected to be the African swine fever earlier this month. “We are currently doing contagious pig disease control in the region,” said U Kyi Myint, secretary of the National Democratic Alliance Army (NDAA). He told The Irrawaddy on Wednesday that this year’s incident is the largest they’ve seen. Previous incidences reportedly saw between 400 and 500 pigs die, at which point pigs were culled and buried to prevent the disease’s further spread.

Philippines

The man for agri | Philstar.com Philstar Global 8th Aug 2019
The Duterte administration has chosen only the best Cabinet secretaries since 2016. Recently, it added a great asset to its league of ministers who will work together for the betterment of this country. Last Monday, William Dar, a Go Negosyo advocate, was appointed as the new secretary of the Department of Agriculture. For the past three years, William Dar has been a staunch partner of Go Negosyo for its pursuit towards micro small, and medium enterprises development through our mentorship programs across the country. He has also been heavily involved in our agriculture-related programs such as the Kapatid Agri Mentor Me program which equips our farmers and other agri-stakeholders with much needed mindset and skills to pursue sustainable agribusiness.

Farmers group seeks better financing to boost agriculture ABS-CBN News 7th Aug 2019
Banks should consider providing financing options to farmers despite risks to help grow the agriculture sector, Alyansa Agrikultura chairman Ernie Ordonez says. State-run Landbank, which is mandated to assist farmers, can set up a subsidiary to focus on agriculture or be given more flexibility when it comes to profit targets, he says.

Former DA chief apologizes to farmers, fisherfolks Manila Bulletin News 6th Aug 2019
DAVAO CITY – Newly appointed Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA) chair Emmanuel “Manny” Piñol apologized to farmers and fisherfolks, who might not have been served well, for his shortcomings as the agriculture chief. “Pasensya na po sa mga pagkukulang ko (I am sorry for all my shortcomings),” Piñol said in a statement issued hours after the Palace announced his appointment on Monday. Piñol, who will serve as MinDA chair for six years or until 2025, thanked colleagues at his former office who helped him transform and change the corrupt image of the Department of Agriculture.

Senator Villar welcomes Dar with challenge to ‘return’ tariffication funds to rice farmers Manila Bulletin News 6th Aug 2019
Senator Cynthia Villar on Monday put to task the new Department of Agriculture (DA) secretary to “return” to the rice farmers the funds allocated to them under the rice tariffication law. Villar, chair of the Senate committee on agriculture and food, urged William Dar to prioritize the implementation of Republic Act 11203 or the law which liberalized rice importation in the country and provided the creation of the P10-billion Rice Competitive Enhancement Fund (RCEF) to help local farmers compete with imported rice. It was reported on Monday that Dar, former director-general of International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (Icrisat), was appointed by President Duterte to lead the DA, replacing now Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA) Chair Emmanuel Piñol.

Duterte warns farmers against using land benefits for illegal drugs Manila Bulletin News 5th Aug 2019
President Duterte has warned farmers against mortgaging their lands just to buy and get hooked on illegal drugs. At a recent agrarian reform event in Davao City, the President told farmers to be “careful” about using the loan money to buy shabu and cocaine, hinting that they might end up dead. Duterte made the appeal amid the government’s plans to introduce a measure allowing agrarian reform beneficiaries to use land as collateral in getting loans from banks and other financial institutions. Under the present law, agrarian reform beneficiaries cannot sell, transfer or lease his land during the 10 years from the award of the property.

LANDBANK targets agrarian reform farmers with P5-B loan program | BusinessWorld Business World 5th Aug 2019
LANDBANK of the Philippines (LANDBANK) said it has allocated P5 billion for a new loan program to assist Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries (ARBs) in financing rice, corn, and high-value crop production, and the acquisition of small farm equipment. The Accessible Funds for Delivery to Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries (AFFORD-ARBS) was presented by the state-owned bank during the distribution of certificates of land ownership awards (CLOAs) to ARBs in Davao City on Friday. LANDBANK turned over a total of 58,387 CLOAs, which covers 102,727 hectares of land, to DAR. These will be distributed to 60,233 ARBs from Regions 9, 10, 11, 12, and 13.

DAR to N.F.A.: Sell rice stocks to boost funds - Jasper Y. Arcalas BusinessMirror 14th Aug 2019
AGRICULTURE Secretary William D. Dar ordered on Tuesday the National Food Authority (NFA) to fast-track its milling operations and immediately sell rice so it can purchase more palay from farmers. Dar issued the order even if the NFA has been reduced to a buffer-stocking agency following the effectivity of Republic Act (RA) 11203, or the rice trade liberalization law. The NFA is an attached agency of the Department of Agriculture (DA). “[The NFA] should immediately unload milled rice so it could roll over funds, which it could use to buy more unhusked rice from local farmers,” Dar said in an interview after the turnover ceremony at the DA central office in Quezon City.

New DA chief wants to double farmers’ income - Jasper Y. Arcalas BusinessMirror 7th Aug 2019
NEWLY installed Acting Agriculture Secretary William D. Dar is targeting to double farmers’ income in five years and grow agriculture production by at least 3 percent annually in keeping with President Duterte’s directive of improving the lives of Filipinos. Dar said the President had ordered him to boost the performance of the Philippine agriculture, which expanded by an average of only 1.1 percent in the past decade. He said farm production growth should be at least 3 percent to 4 percent to ensure ample food supply and meet the food requirements of the country’s population, which has been expanding at an annualized rate of 1.8 percent.

‘RCEF will be used well, fast for farmers’ - Jasper Y. Arcalas BusinessMirror 7th Aug 2019
ACTING Agriculture Secretary William D. Dar said he will focus on the implementation of interventions funded by the Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund (RCEF) to assist farmers incurring losses due to falling farm-gate prices. Dar told reporters in a news briefing in Quezon City that he will ensure the smooth and proper implementation of initiatives bankrolled by the RCEF in the first 100 days of his leadership.

PhilMaize to seek new DA chief’s help as rice-corn blend project hits snag - Jasper Y. Arcalas BusinessMirror 6th Aug 2019
A YEAR and a half after its launch, the implementation of the rice-corn blend (RCB) project nationwide encountered a series of roadblocks, forcing corn growers to go back to the drawing board. Philippine Maize Federation Inc. (PhilMaize) President Roger V. Navarro said recent events in the agriculture sector have overtaken the implementation of the private-public project and resulted in more delays. One of the roadblocks, Navarro said, is the enactment of Republic Act (RA) 11203, which effectively reduced the role of the National Food Authority (NFA) to a buffer-stocking agency.

Duterte names acting heads of agriculture and budget departments | BusinessWorld Business World 6th Aug 2019
PRESIDENT Rodrigo R. Duterte has appointed acting secretaries to head the agriculture and budget departments, Malacañang said on Monday. In a mobile phone reply to confirm news reports in the morning that William D. Dar has been appointed as Agriculture chief, Executive Secretary Salvador S. Medialdea clarified: “as Acting Secretary.” Mr. Medialdea also confirmed later that former Presidential Assistant Wendel E. Avisado has been appointed acting secretary of the Department of Budget and Management, replacing officer-in-charge Janet B. Abuel.

Coco water seen driving coconut sector’s growth | BusinessWorld Business World 5th Aug 2019
NON-TRADITIONAL coconut products such as coconut water are expected to take over from oil as the industry’s main growth driver, the University of Asia and the Pacific (UA&P) said. In its report, “The Coconut Industry: Local and Global Perspectives,” the UA&P said, “From the dominance of coconut oil as the main product for exports, the market profile has shifted into a multi-product industry with non-traditional coconut products gaining popularity especially with the growing concern for health and wellness.” It noted that other products such as coconut water, milk, milk powder, and cream, have showed promise due to rising demand for organic products and those perceived as healthy. It also noted that some consumer trends could favor the industry, such as health-consciousness, the ability to certify and trace products down to farm level, environmental awareness, and reduced plastic use.

PhilMech says farm mechanization aid focused on 1,200 towns | BusinessWorld Business World 2nd Aug 2019
THE Philippine Center for Postharvest Development and Mechanization (PhilMech) said that 1,200 municipalities from major rice-producing provinces will benefit from the P5-billion mechanization component of the Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund (RCEF). In a briefing on Thursday, Rodolfo P. Estigoy, head of applied communications for PhilMech, said that the implementing guidelines for the mechanization program were approved last month. The rules identify six clusters nationwide as the channels for spending on mechanization.

Singapore

Singapore hit by farm-to-market food losses worth $2.54b Singapore Business Review 7th Aug 2019
393,000 tonnes of food loss occurs during upstream and midstream from imported foods and local farms. Food loss, which refers to food that is lost in the supply chain between producer and the market, contributes to an estimated $2.54b from farm to market within Singapore, the Singapore Environment Council revealed in a study with Deloitte.Food waste is one of the city’s top five largest waste streams generated. An estimated 393,000 tonnes of food loss occurs during upstream and midstream from imported foods and local farms, even before reaching retail and consumers. Out of these, around 342,000 tonnes of food loss occurs in Singapore. As Singapore imports most of its food requirements, more than 144,000 tonnes is lost when imported food lands in Singapore.

Thailand

Price caps for cash crops in the works Bangkok Post 6th Aug 2019
The Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives is planning to spend 17 billion baht to guarantee the price of certain cash crops in the market. "We are working to create price guarantees for rice, rubber and palm," said Agriculture Minister Chalermchai Sri-on, on Monday. "A budget is being drawn up, which we plan to submit to the cabinet for approval very soon." Under the proposal, the price of rubber will be set at 60 baht per kilogramme (kg), compared to the current average market price of about 39 baht/kg. The price of palm will be guaranteed at 6 baht/kg, compared to the current market price of 2.46 baht/kg, while rice prices will be capped at 10,000 baht per tonne, up from about 7,000 baht per tonne at present.

Vietnam

Businesses seek ways to boost food export vietnamplus 7th Aug 2019
Experts proposed a number of solutions to boosting food export to potential markets during a workshop held in Ho Chi Minh City on August 7.Ly Kim Chi, Chairwoman of the Food and Foodstuff Association of Ho Chi Minh City, said the city will focus on exporting aquatic products, coffee, vegetables, fruits, and rice to member countries of the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) as well as catfish, shrimp and other agricultural products to the European market.

Ca Mau expands use of advanced farming techniques vietnamplus 7th Aug 2019
The Mekong Delta province of Ca Mau has developed more clean farming models for shrimp and rice that meet Vietnamese good agricultural practices (VietGAP) standards and organic standards to meet the rising demand for them, especially in export markets. It has carried out a project to farm high-quality shrimp and rice to VietGAP standards in Ca Mau city’s Ly Van Lam commune. Farmers grow rice in the rainy season and raise shrimp in the dry season in the same fields, and both are clean due to the low use of chemicals.

Vietnam mulls seasonal fishing ban to replenish stock Tuoi Tre News 5th Aug 2019
Vietnam’s fisheries watchdog is considering a seasonal fishing ban in Vietnamese waters, expected to take effect from 2020, to protect and replenish the country’s marine resources. The “temporary ban and restriction on fishing activities in Vietnamese waters” scheme is being studied by the Directorate of Fisheries under the Vietnamese Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, an official from the agency told Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper. The scheme is being finalized and the prime minister's approval will be sought for it later this year, with the actual ban expected to take effect from 2020, the official said.

Sóc Trăng eyes expansion of net-house vegetable farming Vietnam News Agency 3rd Aug 2019
The Cửu Long (Mekong) Delta province of Sóc Trăng is expanding the model of building net houses for growing vegetables as it seeks to increase output of clean vegetables. It has 105 net houses covering a total area of 5.7ha, according to its Plant Cultivation and Protection Sub-department. Lý Hường of Châu Thành District’s Thuận Hòa Commune has been growing vegetables in a net house for five years. His produce is bought by shops selling clean vegetables in the province and elsewhere. The province Department of Agriculture and Rural Development encourages farmers to build net houses and subsidies their cost by 70 per cent.

Agriculture insurance saves farmers from crop losses Vietnam News Agency 2nd Aug 2019
In spite of being implemented in 2011, the Government-supported agriculture insurance programme which aims to protect farmers against losses of crops and livestock has so far failed to attract farmers due to high premium and complicated procedures. The household of Trần Huy Cường, a farmer in Lập Thạch District, northern province of Vĩnh Phúc, was among 6,000 local households to buy agriculture insurance while it was being trialled in 2011-13. After a year, he decided to end the participation because the insurance premium was high and the compensation rate remained too low.

Bình Phước buries dead sick pigs Vietnam News Agency 5th Aug 2019
The Đồng Phú District People’s Committee in the southern province of Bình Phước yesterday culled 31 pigs suffering from African swine fever (ASF). The pigs weighed more than three tonnes in total and were owned by Nguyễn Đình Hân, of Village 5, Tân Lập Commune. Hân said that on Saturday evening, he discovered several pigs out of his herd of 100 had symptoms of ASF including high temperature and refusing to eat. After they died, he immediately reported to local authorities.

Chinese farm produce market choosier, causing concern among exporters VietNamNet 5th Aug 2019
Vietnam’s businesses have had to change the way of organizing production to satisfy the increasingly high demand from China. According to WTO, in 2011-2017, China imported $163 billion worth of farm produce each year. The country surpassed the US to become the biggest importer of Vietnam’s farm produce. Considering the 13 key farm export items of Vietnam, China imports $6.3 billion worth of products each year, accounting for 21.1 percent of Vietnam’s ‘basket of export farm produce’. According to Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Tran Thanh Nam, 60-70 percent of Vietnam’s farm produce exports to China go through border gates. However, rice exports to China dropped dramatically by 75.4 percent in first five months of the year, and by 75.2 percent in export turnover compared with the same period last year.

Vietnam warned of becoming dumping ground for beef VietNamNet 4th Aug 2019
The volume of pig, chicken and pork imports has soared recently. Buyers and sellers conduct transactions easily online. This has raised concern that Vietnam may become a dumping ground for refused meat with no clear origin. The Lang Son provincial Market Control Department some days ago discovered 720 kilograms of pig brisket which had a bad odor carried by a truck.Adhesive tape with Chinese words were found. However, there was no document showing the origin of the products and quarantine certificate. A high number of consignments of meat with unclear origin have been found recently.