Food and Agribusiness Talking Points | 25/08/2016

In today’s Talking Points: The Asian Development Bank supports dairy farming in China; U.S. Approval of Syngenta Deal Brings GMO Food a Step Closer to China; Melbourne Dairy Symposium discusses contract transparency and milk pricing; Western Australia’s Grain Belt prepares for locus plague

The Asian Development Bank supports dairy farming in China

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has granted US$125 million to a Chinese dairy producer, Saikexing Breeding and Biotechnology Group, based in Inner Mongolia. Half of the loans will be distributed directly to the firm and the other half will be syndicated to a group of Chinese commercial banks. Saikexing is China’s fourth-largest dairy farming company. Dairy consumption in China is on the rise, as are concerns over safety of the quality of milk products. The funding is slated for upgrades to the environmental efficiency of farms, as well as the addition of four farms to the company’s existing 27.

Source: GT Review

U.S. Approval of Syngenta Deal Brings GMO Food a Step Closer to China

China National Chemical Corp. has cleared US regulatory hurdles to buy Syngenta, the Swiss agribusiness, for $USD43 billion. With headquarters in Basel, Syngenta has 28,000 employees in over 90 countries. On Monday the Committee on Foreign Investment in the U.S. gave approval to the deal. In a recent survey by China Daily, however, 84% of respondents considered GMO unsafe. Many Chinese associate GM foods with previous food-safety scares. Even though the Chinese government considers GMO a possible solution to many of China’s agricultural problems, especially in the arid, freezing north, there remains great popular disapproval.

Source: Time

Melbourne Dairy Symposium discusses contract transparency and milk pricing

Politicians, dairy farmer representatives and processors will meet today to discuss concerns over the transparency of dairy contracts, milk pricing and ways to spread risk more evenly through the dairy supply chain. This meeting comes after Fonterra and Murray Goulburn’s recent decision to cut milk prices has left many farmers with big debts. The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) is in the process of investigating whether these processors have treated dairy farmers unfairly or unconscionably by retrospectively slashing milk prices. At the same time, an Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) investigation into the information provided by Murray Goulburn to the ASX is also under way.

Attendees at the Dairy symposium include major dairy processors such as Murray Goulburn, Fonterra and Bega as well as representatives from Coles, Metcash IGA and Woolsworth. Farmer Power Group, which had called for a levy on fresh milk sales to support Australian Farmers, was notably not invited. Farmer Power Group’s vice president has accused the government of only inviting those who support its policies.

Source: ABC

Western Australia’s Grain Belt prepares for locus plague

The department of Agriculture and Food WA (DAFWA) survey shows moderate density hatchings of locusts are expected in the eastern and southern parts of Western Australia’s grain belts. These areas include Ravensthorpe, Jerramungup, Gnowangerup, Narrogin, Kulin, Yilgarn, Westonia, Mukinbudin and Nungarin shires. DAFWA entomologist Svetlana Micic said, “Anyone who had locusts present in autumn potentially has had an egg bed laid and we can expect hatchings to occur from mid-September onwards.” The survey also showed that dense grain crops tended to have low hatchings of locusts. Mr Kennedy, acting director of invasive species has emphasised that managing locusts is the responsibility of the landholder.

Source: ABC