Regional News Roundup

Cambodia

Japanese offer tech expertise to help farmers

Cambodia and Japan have agreed to work together developing the Kingdom’s tourism sector with a focus on attracting visitors to farms and selling them locally grown produce. Japanese Embassy’s Deputy Chief of Mission said the Kingdom’s agricultural sector has a lot of potential to create jobs, generate income, train farm workers and utilise Japanese agricultural technology.

Agricultural exports rise 87% in first seven months despite rice shipment drop

Cambodia exported nearly $3 billion worth of agricultural products in the first seven months of the year, a rise of more than 87% over the same period in 2020. Rice exports were not part of the good news however as shipments of that commodity dropped more than 27% due to lack of suitable containers and rising shipping costs. Cambodia’s fruit exports have gone from strength to strength following the approval of more fruit shipments to China following last year’s free trade agreement.

Australian organic enterprise to offer Cambodian farmers overseas training experience

An Australian organic farming firm is offering jobs to Cambodians. Working overseas would teach the Kingdom’s farmers about modern agricultural techniques, the Agriculture Minister said. This would benefit Cambodia because they would bring back valuable knowledge and experience to develop the agricultural sector in the future, he said.

EU and UNIDO to support fisheries sector

With support of the European Union (EU), the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) in partnership with the Ministry of Agriculture’s Fisheries Administration (FiA) launched a Value Chain Investment Support (VCIS) programme yesterday aiming to support Cambodia’s small, medium and large enterprises in post-harvest fisheries. VCIS provides both finance and non-financial support to Cambodian entrepreneurs, especially women and youth-owned businesses in post-harvest fisheries.

GrowPNG

‘PNG Needs Direct Market Link’: Simon

Papua New Guinea has some of the best and quality products but having direct link to overseas market is an issue. The Agriculture and Livestock Minister said this while challenging the commodity boards, industries and relevant authorities to step up their efforts to ensure PNG products are sold directly to the international market. He said those in the middle are making more money than the actual famers.

Indonesia

‘Metro Mark’ McGowan risks exports, farmers say

Farmers say the West Australian government has put in doubt key agricultural exports and insulted an important regional ally by changing the rules for cargo ships without first consulting counterparts in Indonesia. Under the new regime, ships will not be allowed to berth in the state if they have taken on crew in Indonesia. The CEO of the WA Farmers Federation said the Premier and his senior bureaucrats should have “at least picked up the phone to the Indonesian Ambassador in Canberra or the Consul General in Perth for a discussion as to how the community safety could be protected whilst still loading our ships with grain and cattle which Indonesia needs to feed their people”.

Indonesia’s agriculture remains resilient amid COVID-19 pandemic

Agricultural sector of Indonesia has maintained stable growth during the COVID-19 pandemic, accounting for 2.95% of the country’s GDP. The pandemic has raised challenges related to poverty, unemployment, inequality, and affected food security, Indonesian Coordinating Minister for Economic Affairs said. The Indonesian government has swiftly implemented agricultural development programmes to ensure food security and improve incomes for farmers and fishermen.

Could Indonesia’s fledgling eel farming sector be on the cusp of a breakthrough?

Indonesia’s eel farming industry has huge potential – as long as all stakeholders can make a supportive ecosystem – according to the general manager of one of the country’s pioneering eel farms. Based on his experience in the last ten years, He believes such a cultivation system can be developed and duplicated by other farmers to increase local production and offer farmers a chance to diversify. The key thing, he says, is building a supportive ecosystem, covering factors including research, marketing, logistics, infrastructure, regulation and consumer education.

Philippines

Typhoon Fabian damage to agri almost P700-M

Rains of the southwest monsoon enhanced by Typhoon Fabian have devastated agricultural areas in the country and left PHP698.53 million worth of damage, the Department of Agriculture (DA) said on Monday. Almost 26,994 farmers were affected and the volume of production losses is at 14,175 metric tons (MT) of agricultural crops planted.

Automation looms large on PH agri jobs

Technology has helped people at work since the first industrial revolution, but with “industry 4.0” increasingly being characterized by automation, several countries should see the need to cope. The Philippines placed sixth when it comes to being at-risk from the impacts of the transition which, the report by Deloitte said, is determined not just by which roles are affected, but the extent of disadvantage faced by those who are affected.

GM crop approvals will boost PH health, agri productivity

After years of delays brought about by intense and on occasion even violent resistance by misguided activists, two new varieties of staple food crops have finally been approved for widespread cultivation in the Philippines. The advantage of Golden Rice is that it will help address widespread vitamin A deficiency among Filipino children, a problem that is brought on to some extent, by the high rate of consumption of plain white race, which makes up about 40 percent of the average Filipino's caloric intake. Bt talong, on the other hand, while not being nutritionally different from ordinary eggplant, will greatly improve crop yields due to its resistance to EFSB, a type of insect larva that is the most common pest of eggplant crops.

DA chief downgrades growth target for PH agri sector The Agriculture Secretary has downgraded his year-end growth target for the Philippines’ farm sector, from 2.5% to 2%, amid the prevalence of the COVID-19 pandemic as well as the continuous spread of African Swine Fever (ASF). Nevertheless, he said the new growth forecast of 2% will be achieved through the efforts of the government and the positive trend in the production of rice, which is the country’s main staple.

Vietnam

Nine global agritech entrepreneurs supported to scale solutions in Vietnam

An Australia-funded project has chosen nine leading agritech scale-ups from overseas to enter the Vietnamese market with an aim of solving the country’s most pressing agrifood challenges, according to the Australian Embassy in Hanoi. Proposed solutions included integrated IoT solutions to improve water quality in local aquaculture systems; microbial solutions for environmentally-friendly crop health management; and microclimate monitoring and control systems for safer and more energy-efficient piggeries.

Vietnam plans to stockpile rice as coronavirus curbs hit farmers

Vietnam plans to stockpile rice purchased from domestic farmers in a bid to help growers affected by strict coronavirus movement curbs and low export prices offload their harvest, state media reported on Tuesday. The move, which is subject to approval by Vietnam's prime minister, should encourage farmers to continue rice production into the next harvest, the official Vietnam News Agency (VNA) reported, citing the deputy agriculture minister.

Vietnam strives for over 4 billion USD in shrimp exports

Vietnam’s agricultural sector is focusing on solving difficulties to earn over 4 billion USD from shrimp exports in 2021. Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development said that the ministry will work with the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment on land procedures as a legal basis for granting farming area codes and ensuring traceability.

Regional

'We will die of hunger': Anxiety over paltry Covid-19 lockdown aid in the Philippines

When enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) was imposed on March 29 the government provided financial assistance of 1,000 peso per individual with a limit of 4,000 peso per family, to benefit some 22.9 million individuals affected by the strictest lockdown in these areas. The ECQ was originally set for one week but was prolonged for another week until April 11. However, no additional aid was provided to low-income residents during the extended period.

Climate change threatens food security of 65 nations

Scientists have projected that millions of people in 65 nations globally, particularly those in Africa and South-East Asia and the Pacific, could face increased malnutrition as climate change and overfishing take their toll on fisheries.

According to a study that analysed over 800 fish species from more than 157 countries, climate change and overfishing could lead to acute shortages of vital micronutrients from the oceans. Countries whose fisheries are at increased risk include Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia and Timor-Leste.

Another 291 Million People Won’t Have Enough to Eat This Year

Global hunger will surge by about a third this year, driven by lingering income losses from the pandemic. The UN estimated global food insecurity in 2020 had already hit the highest level in 15 years as income loss made healthy diets out of reach for about a 10th of the global population. Things are projected to get worse in 2021 as commodity inflation and disrupted supply chains sent world food prices to the highest in almost a decade, particularly bad news for poorer countries dependent on food imports. A study published in Nature Food journal this month projected the exacerbated undernutrition among mothers and children in low-and middle-income countries will cost the world $30 billion in future productivity losses.

Flurry of emissions pledges still not enough to meet global climate goals say experts

Despite a recent flurry of new national emissions pledges, the world is still far away from preventing catastrophic climate change, experts say. The new pledges submitted through July barely moved the needle toward that goal, with many of them from developing countries with a small carbon footprint. Countries responsible for over half (53 per cent) of current global emissions either have yet to submit a new or updated NDC, said the World Resources Institute. While the global emissions trend is currently projected

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