Food & Agribusiness Talking Points | 16/11/2016


In today’s talking points: Deal signed between China and New Zealand on organic standards; Drones to increase China’s Food Supply; China tackles concerns over illegal GM crops; World Food Prices goes up in October.

Deal signed between China and New Zealand on organic standards 

On Monday, China signed a landmark agreement with New Zealand that will see the countries recognise each other’s standards for organic products. This is mark a potential boost of the development of domestic organic industry and bilateral trade. According to the deal, organic products exported from NZ will have a certificate from the ministry, and vice versa for China, removing the need for lengthy checks at their destination. This is significant as most of 70% of NZ’s organic products are exported to China, while China exports organic coffee, frozen vegetables, crops and raw materials for pet food. Regulations have also been stringent in the Chinese organic food industry, for instance, enterprises whose certificates have been revoked for faking organic processes must wait up to five years to reapplication. 

Read more at The Daily Star

Drones to increase China’s Food Supply 

Drones, or unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), are making their way to Chinese agriculture, and believe could increase food supply in China. With large population, scarce land and declining agricultural workforce are causing concerns and greater productivity is needed. Hovering above ground, cloud-linked multi-rotor and fixed-wing UAVs use sensors and advanced cameras to generate precise, real-time data and images of plant growth, soil conditions, water levels and crop threats, etc. It is estimated that, China’s drone powered solutions in agriculture, forestry and plant protection domains will reach RMB 35 billion by 2025. 

Read more at The Diplomat 

China tackles concerns over illegal GM crops

China has invested immensely on research of biotech crops, but it has not yet approved the planting of any GM varieties of staple food crops due to serious consumer opposition. Farmers have been caught growing GM corn illegally, which triggered a strong response from the government to shore up already low consumer trust in its ability to handle food safety issues.

Public acceptance of biotechnology is one of the biggest challenges that China faces for future introduction of GM crops. Despite many attempts by the government to persuade consumers of safety of such foods in recent years, public opinions remain highly polarised. Agriculture minister Han Changfu told reporters earlier this year that GM crops did not threaten consumer health.

Read more at Reuters

World food prices goes up in October

World food prices has gone up following an upward trend since the first month of this year, reports United Nations food agency. with the exception of a slight dip in July, the Food and Agriculture Orgnisation’s (FAO) food price index has steadily increased from a seven-year low hit in January. The index measures monthly changes for a basket of cereals, oilseed, dairy products, meat and sugar, rose 0.7 percent above the month before and 9.1 percent above the same month last year.

Read more at Reuters