May 2020 Newsletter

Quality Seed | Quality Life

JULY 2020 NEWSLETTER

Greetings from the APSA Secretariat

We hope you’re enjoying Summer in the Northern Hemisphere, or Winter in the Southern Hemisphere

As we'e got a lot to cover and information to relay this month, you may find it more convenient to download and listen to the podcast instead..

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Seed Industry News Round-up

Introduction

Welcome to the APSA July 2020 newsletter. We hope all of you are staying safe and well during this time. We have some important updates on the key important topics concluded during the APSA Executive Committee meetings on 21 and 22 July.

The APSA EC has made a decision to discount membership fees for 2020 from US$900 to US$600. This is to support members during the ongoing pandemic. This new scheme will help APSA operations run smoothly as we hope we can keep our members engaged in our new programs in these coming years. For more information on the new discounted rate and how to apply this rate towards your membership renewal this year, please see this flowchart.

Beside the new discounted rate, this year the APSA EC has decided to conduct our Annual General Meeting through a teleconference, which is permitted by Singapore law. The AGM will thus be held on 26 November starting 1pm ICT time. We will announce the agenda by September. This year we have one vacant seat on EC and we are calling out for the candidate nomination. We do still need members to help strengthen APSA and the Asian seed sector so if you are interested in volunteering your time to fill this important role, please do not hesitate to get get in touch with APSA Executive Director.

Next, COVID19 has already shown positive and negative impacts on many aspects of the seed supply chain. APSA together with World Vegetable Center had run a survey engaging APSA members in April and May to monitor the impacts on their operations. We have received really good responses from members and we’d like to thank those who have responded. The initial report published from these first two rounds has attracted interest from our stakeholders and the information can be really useful for the public sector in devising business-friendly policies moving forward.

Therefore, we have now extended collaboration with the OECD seed scheme and ISF to work on a project to report the impacts of the pandemic on the vegetable seed sector in Asia. Hence a third round of the survey will be sent out to APSA members by next week. So, stand by and please help to be part of this important mission for the region by responding to the survey.

Finally, we are really excited to share with you that APSA’s new website and membership directory will be launched in the near future. Stand by, and in the meantime, please take care and stay safe during this time. We do really hope that we can meet face to face again soon. Thank you very much.

TECHNICAL AFFAIRS

In our Special Interest Group on Field Crops or SIG Field Crops, we are pleased to announce the formation of a new group with 10 integrated field crops companies. The first meeting will be held in the first week of August. We will keep you updated for this group’s activity.

The Standing Committee on International Trade & Quarantine had an online meeting on July 23 to finalize the agenda for the 6th Phytosanitary Expert Consultation and update confirmed participants which include national plant protection officers from 7 countries in the Asia&Pacific, representatives from seed associations and APSA stakeholders. We trust that there will be more participants joining before the online meeting date on August 26.

Besides, we are pleased to share with everyone the Executive Summary on a review of Plant Variety Protection laws in the Asia-Pacific region, which was prepared by APSA Standing Committee of Intellectual Property Rights and Biodiversity which initiated the review in June in order to understand the current status and how well these laws are being implemented. The Executive Summary is open to the public and you can download here

Last but not least, we have an update from the APSA World Vegetable Center Vegetable Breeding Consortium: Two inception workshops were held by WorldVeg in the third week of July for consortium members to start their multilateral projects. This is part of several benefits for consortium members that Consortium Companies are eligible to develop and participate in bilateral and/or multilateral collaborative projects with WorldVeg. Opportunities to participate in selected collaborative projects will be promoted by APSA to all its members from time-to-time.

EVENTS

  • As previously mentioned, this year’s 26th Annual General Meeting will be held on November 26. This is the first time ever the AGM will be held on-line with e-balloting for the election. Details will be sent to all our members accordingly. So please don’t forget to check your email and stay tuned for more information.

  • On August 26, the 6th Phytosanitary Expert Consultation will be held. This closed meeting will be held virtually on-line and will be attended by various NPPOs from across the Asia Pacific Region..

  • This month we will be conducting another round of our survey for COVID-19 impacts on the seed industry. A full summary report will be prepared and made available on our website.

  • Speaking of the website, we are pleased to inform everyone that we are giving a much needed upgrade to the website and membership database. The official launch of the New APSA Website and Membership Database System is set for Monday, the 17th of August. It will be much more user friendly and easy to use. So don’t forget to check it out.

  • As for some other holidays and observances that we will celebrate in the month of August, look forward to:

    • Singapore National Day – August 9

    • International Youth Day – August 12

    • Pakistan Independence Day – August 14

    • India Independence Day – August 15

    • Harl Kemerdekaan (Indonesia) – August 17

    • Mari Merdeka (Malaysia) – August 31

Regional-Global

United Nations Chief urges secure food systems in face of hunger crisis

The United Nations’ Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has warned that as much as 820 million people would go hungry, including 144 million children….

ISF urges governments to continue to facilitate international seed movements

The Secretary-General of the International Seed Federation, Michael Keller on 6 July, released a new statement asking governments “to continue facilitating the international movement of seed and not to impose restrictive measures.” The letter cites the position of ….

ISF, CSA & CNSTA: ‘3rd Round Table Meeting on Plant Breeding Innovation’ online

The International Seed Federation(ISF) joined with the China Seed Association(CSA) and the China National Seed Trade Association(CNSTA) to organize the online session on June 23 ….

FAO names new assistant to DG & regional rep for Asia and the Pacific

South Korean national Mr Jong-Jin Kim has been named the Assistant Director-General and FAO Regional Representative for Asia and the Pacific. Effective since 1st July 2020, Mr. Jong-Jin succeeds ….

FAO issues Asia-Pacific policy recommendations to cope with Covid-19 impacts on food

To address serious threats of the COVID-19 pandemic on food and nutrition security in Asia and the Pacific, the FAO on June 5 published a report highlighting food supply chain trends in 11 countries. These include Bangladesh, China, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Pakistan, Philippines, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Viet Nam. The report includes ….

2020 World Food Laureate is an Indian American Soil Scientist

Congratulations to Dr. Rattan Lal, a native of India and citizen of the United States, who has been awarded the 2020 #WorldFoodPrize. Dr. Lal, a soil scientist and distinguished professor at Ohio State University, is recognized for ….

East-West Seed names two new members to its Supervisory Board.

Mary Sue Rogers and Maaike Groot have been appointed as the newest members of East-West Seed’s Supervisory Board. The news, whicch was announced by the leading vegetable seed firm on 1 July, follows Simon Groot, Dietrich Schmidt and Johnny Santos formally retiring from the Supervisory Board ….

ISTA revises procedures for Orange & Blue certificates & other updates

The International Seed Testing Association (ISTA) recently revised the procedure for ‘How to complete ISTA certificates’, specifically on how to complete the ISTA Orange International Seed Lot Certificate (OIC) and ISTA Blue International Seed Sample Certificate (BIC)….

UPOV update on PLUTO plant variety database

UPOV on July 3 held a webinar to provide updates on its PLUTO Plant Variety database, which will be introduced from November 2020. The online session also was an opportunity to provide users to provide feedback on ….

Meet new Chair of ASTA

John Latham, the President of Latham Hi-Tech Seeds in Iowa, USA, has commenced his tenure as the Chair of the American Seed Trade Association (ASTA), taking over from Wayne Gale of Stokes Seeds. John has a long history of service with ASTA, having previously ….

Grow Asia webinar on eCommerce & social media opportunities

During its second Grow Asia Digital Learning Series session in 2020, a GrowAsia webinar on June 30 explored opportunities in using chat and social media platforms to reach farmers. The session featured findings from a study GrowAsia conducted with support from ….

Argentina adds new requirements to regulated pest list for chili and tomato seeds

From June 16, 2020, Argentina added new requirements to its list of regulated pests for Capsicum annuum and Solanum lycopersicum originating in countries in which the pest is present. The notified text provides for the inclusion of the pests ….

CRISPRcon returns virtually September and October

CRISPRcon, “a unique forum bringing diverse voices together to discuss the future of CRISPR and related gene editing technologies across applications in agriculture, health, conservation” will be conducted virtually this year “with a series of ….

Locusts swarms devour swathes of Asian farmland

Locust infestations continue to spread across Asia. As reported widely thus far in 2020, desert locusts (Schistocerca gregaria) have eaten their way through crops in India, Pakistan, Iran and Saudia Arabia, with Nepal being the latest South Asian country to report detection… Meanwhile a different crop-hungry locust species is feeding on farms in China, Laos and Vietnam ….

Floodwaters engulf crops, homes and livelihoods across region

Bad weather has caused extreme hardship for farmers in East and South Asia in June and July. By July 19, in India’s Assam and neighboring Nepal, nearly four million people had been displaced by heavy flooding with a death toll of at least 189, according to this report, noting that the Brahmaputra River, which flows through China’s Tibet, India and Bangladesh, has flooded crops and ….

Origin of seed packets a mystery

China authorities are looking into allegations that mysterious seed packets, reportedly sent to random addresses in the US, originated in China. According to Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Wang Wenbin, “Plant seeds are articles prohibited as imports (or in transit) or admitted conditionally for UPU member countries. China Post strictly follows ….

Read all these stories from throughout the Asia-Pacific and more 

Australia

Northern Territory to release 100,000+ hectares of land for farming

The Northern Territory Land Corporation plans to release three large parcels of land onto the market. The largest of three parcels, dubbed the “Keep Plains Agricultural Development, spans 67,500ha near the Western Australia border. It adjoins WA’s Ord River ….

Tasmania research to look at hemp for sheep grazing, seed yield correlations

The Tasmanian Hemp Association (THA), with Agrifutures, an Australian Government backed organisation that promotes Australian rural industries, will study the potential of hemp as sheep fodder and whether grazing can affect seed yields. The research, revealed ….

Australia exports first hemp seed shipment to NZ

Hemp Industry Daily reports that Australia has completed its first (legal) export consignment of hemp seeds. Though the quantity and value was not disclosed, the report notes that it is the first ….

Gravity seed table cleaning diminishes weed seeds: study

A study by the Australian Herbicide Resistance Initiative (AHRI), titled “Lessons learnt: crop-seed cleaning reduces weed-seed contamination in Western Australian grain samples” reveals that commercial gravity table seed cleaning can remove nearly all weed seed from crop seed ….

Mixed bag of winter weather for southern Australia crops

The North Queensland Register reports on the fickle Australian climate this winter season. While parts of coastal NSW and Queensland have suffered from flooding and excess rain that drenched central and southern coastal regions recently, conditions have been dry in ….

Read all these stories and more from Australia

Cambodia

Rice exports in first half of 2020 surge

Cambodia exported more than 390,000 tons of rice in the first half of 2020, which is 41% more than the same period last year, when the country exported 281 538 tons ….

Reforestation of Angkor

Central to reforestation efforts around the ancient Khmer capital of Angkor Wat is an 8-hectare nursery in Siem Reap Province, which is run by the APSARA National Authority (Authority for the Protection and Management of Angkor and the Region of Siem Reap) ….

Vegetable seeds for farmers in Samrong

Officials from the Provincial Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, in collaboration with the CHAIN (Cambodia Horticulture Advancing Income and Nutrition) ​​project of the not-for-profit international development organisation, SNV, delivered seeds and fertilizers to ….

Bolstering aromatic rice exports

Eight farming communities in Battambang province on July 10 signed an agreement to produce and supply aromatic rice to AMRURice Group for export. Battambang province is favorable for aromatic rice ….

Rice blockchain tracking platform scales up to 500 farmer households

Amru Rice, which is reportedly one of Cambodia’s leading rice exporters, launched its BlocRice blockchain project in April 2018 initially with 50 farmer households, and has rapidly scaled up the platform to now cover 500 households across two communities ….

Read all these stories and more from Cambodia

China

Early rice planting in Zhejiang up by 8%

A total of 17 new early rice varieties were recently exhibited during an exhibition in Shangyu and Yuyao of Zhejiang Province. The varieties were independently selected and bred by scientific research and breeding units or seed companies in the province. …

Undeclared cabbage seeds intercepted by Dalian Customs

Dalian Zhoushuizi International Airport Customs have seized 15 bags of undeclared cabbage seeds that were detected in the luggage of incoming passengers who had travelled from Japan. The weight of the seeds was 19.8 kilograms. The seeds were detected during routine inspection ….

Haidian Enforcement Inspections

Beijing’s Haidian District Agricultural Law Enforcement Brigade on July 22 conducted a comprehensive inspection of seed enterprises and institutions as well as other agricultural facilities ….

Wild plant seed bank in Kunming

China’s Southwest Wildlife Germplasm Bank of China in Heilongtan, Kunming recently processed a batch of newly collected plant seeds, adding 27 new species to its seed bank. At present, 82,746 seeds of various wild plants have been collected and stored at the bank ….

Gansu seed exports up 44% in first half of 2020

Lanzhou Customs reports Chinese media, that Gansu Province in the first six months of the year exported 1,233 tons of seeds, worth 20.3 million US dollars, representing year-on-year increases of 44% and 43.7%, respectively ….

Yasheng Group to invest in new seed company subsidiary

Yasheng Group has announced plans to invest 120 million yuan (US$17.1 million) to establish Gansu Yasheng Seed Industry Co., Ltd. as its new subsidiary. According to Sina Finance, the new company’s business scope will include the production and processing of …..

Ningxia Seed Industry Expo boosts rural revitalization’

On July 27, Chinese media attended and photographed the 7th Ningxia Seed Industry Expo, which was held at the Taijin Seed Industry Park, a seed town in Pingluo County, Shizuishan City, Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region. This year’s Seed Industry Expo featured …..

Read all these stories and more from China

India

Praise for kharif crop boosted MSP

Looking at reasoning behind revised minimum support price (MSP) for kharif crops for 2020-21 fiscal year, which were boosted in June for various crops, including ….

Mixed monsoon weather raises cropping concern

Despite bountiful rains in June, the southwest monsoon had weakened in July according to India Meteorological Department data cited in a report, which notes that about a third of the 685 districts ….

Two new weather apps released

Two smartphone apps were launched in late July by the Union Ministry of Earth Sciences launched to provide updates on current weather, forecasts, warnings and Radar images. Both apps are available ….

ICAR celebrates 92nd anniversary

The Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) celebrated its 92nd foundation day on July 16. To honor the occasion, Shri Narendra Singh Tomar, the Union Minister of Agriculture & Farmers’ Welfare expressed appreciation for ….

Mustard seed prices surge by 26% in Rajasthan

The Business Standard reports on the trend of rising mustard seed prices, which rose by 26% in four months. The spike is due to short supplies and rising “household demand for mustard oil as an immunity booster” According to the report, rape/mustard seed in ….

Pulse sowing on the up in Tamil Nadu

This season, the total area to be sown with pulses in the Tiruchirapalli district of Tamil Nadu will likely increase to more than 12,500 hectares, up from about 10,000 previously ….

Indian flower market in ‘deep crisis’

Marigold cultivation has declined by as much as 70%, while demand for roses, chrysanthemums, gerbera, and lilies is also suffering as the floriculture industry dips deep into crisis ….

FSII director on ‘Made In India’ potential

A recent editorial by the director-general of the Federation of Seed Industry of India (FSII) Ram Kaundinya makes a strong case for India becoming a major international seed hub ….

India could be among top five of agro commodity exporters

Making the case that India could be among the top five exporters in the world of agro commodities. A report, citing the World Trade Centre, says that India was the eighth top exporter of agro commodities in 2019 ….

HBBT contamination claims

Reports on alleged illegal practices regarding Herbicide Tolerant (HT) Bt cotton, which is a third-generation transgenic variety of cotton developed by …..

MoU for organic cotton seeds

The Organic and Fair Trade Cotton Secretariat (OFTC) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with 11 public and private partners committing to making organic cotton seed …..

Read all these stories and more from India

Indonesia

Unemployed Bali workers returning home to farmers

In the wake of coronavirus-induced economic turmoil, thousands of unemployed workers have returned to the village for sustenance farming ….

IPM and EWS to aid in garlic self-sufficiency push

The Office of Communication and Information of the Province of East Java has published an article highlighting the implementation of Early Warning Systems (EWS) and Integrated Pest Management (IPM) in order to mitigate crop loss risks and thus …..

‘Food Crop’ Tissue Culture lab inaugurated in Pekalongan

A new Tissue Culture Laboratory in the Central Javan city of Pekalongan was inaugurated by the local government on July 22. The laboratory will be managed by the Department of Agriculture and Food of Pekalongan City and will support ….

Quality Management System Certification for ‘Superior Seeds’

The Indonesian Ministry of Agriculture is encouraging the utilization of “superior seeds” through seed certification, and quality management systems. As conveyed during a recent webinar to address economic issues during the ongoing pandemic, an official from the Directorate of Horticultural Germination said that …..

Moringa leaf production encouraged in Sidoarjo

A politician is encouraging the development of Moringa plant cultivation in parts of Sidoarjo, East Java, citing the strong demand abroad and thus export potential ….

R&D yields promising onion, shallot varieties for commercialization

As part of efforts to stabilize supply and prices of onions and shallots, IPB University has conducted promising research which has been deemed a national priority. The research is a continuation of previous research conducted by the Center for Tropical Horticulture Studies (PKHT) Institute for Research and Community Service (LPPM) IPB University, which is looking at ….

Onion and shallot cultivation in West Lampung

A number of farmer groups — including women and youth groups — across West Lampung, Sumatra will see through programs to boost onion and shallot cultivation. According to a horticulture official cited ….

Farmers in East Luwu Regency short on ‘superior seeds’ for rice sowing target

A horticulture official at the East Luwu Agriculture Office says there is a strong need for superior rice seeds in East Luwu. According to this Indonesian article, in order to meet targets to sow 21 thousand hectares of paddy ….

West Sumatra Gov hopes to increase rice productivity to 9 tons/ha

The West Sumatra Governor has urged stakeholders to cooperate in order to increase rice yields from to 8-9 tons per hectare, up from current average yields of 5-6 tons per hectare. The governor ….

New high-yielding, disease-resistant upland rice variety released

The Ministry of Agriculture (Kementan) through the Agricultural Research and Development Agency (Balitbangtan) has released a new high-yielding “superior rice variety”: Biobestari Agritan is upland rice which has an average productivity of …..

Banyuasin strives to be number one in rice through quality seeds, inputs

The Regent of Banyuasin H Askolani SH MH is determined for his regency to become “the number one region as a national rice producer.”. According to this article, the Banyuasin Regency is currently the 4th largest rice-producing region, and the Banyuasin Regency Government will optimize ….

Vegetables to improve food security in Pariaman

Efforts in Pariman city in in West Sumatra to improve local food security through the planting of various vegetables in a community demonstration plot, including spinach, kale, eggplants, string beans, cayenne pepper and some fruits …

Harvest of Seed Potato demo in West Sumatra

The West Sumatra Agricultural Technology Study Board (BPTP) completed its first harvest of seed potato, together with the Head of the Seed Supervision and Certification Center (BPSB) on an area of ​​0.8 hectares in ….

Soybean production on the up in Maros

Attending a soybean harvest activity on 92 hectares in the Leang-Leang Village, Bantimurung District, Maros Regency on an area of ​​92 ha on July 14 was …. In related news, on July 16, the Director General of Food Crops of the Indonesian Ministry of Agriculture said that is necessary to develop superior soybean varieties that exceed …

Read all these stories and more from Indonesia

Japan

Optimistic for seeds, seedling business recovery

There is some optimism for a recovery of the seeds and seedlings business. A report notes that although there have been concerns about the impacts of Covid-19 situation on domestic farming and international trade, the seed and seedling business in Japan is expected ….

Seed regulations enacted in 21 prefectures

A report by “Japan Seed Protecting Society,” reveals that seed regulations were enacted in Hokkaido, Miyagi, Yamagata, Ibaraki, Tochigi, Gunma, Saitama, Niigata, Nagano, Toyama, Ishikawa. , Fukui, Aichi, Mie, Gifu, Hyogo, Tottori, Hiroshima, Miyazaki, Kumamoto and Kagoshima ….

Tropical ‘ghost orchid’ found growing in temperate hills of west Tokyo

The ghost orchid (Epipogium roseum) known in Japanese as Tashiroran, and which can only be seen during the rainy season, is classified as a semi- endangered species by the Ministry of the Environment. ….

Osaka research: agrobacterial mutagenesis could accelerate gene-editing

Researchers from Osaka University “infected potato with Agrobacterium tumefaciens harboring TALEN-expression vector targeting sterol side chain reductase 2 (SSR2) gene and regenerated shoots without selection. They obtained regenerated lines with …..

Read all these stories and more from Japan

Korea

Nongwoo Bio CEO Q&A

The CEO of leading Korean seed company, Nongwoo Bio, Lee Byeonggak was featured in a Korean language interview. In the Q&A, he answers questions about his company, R&D, strategy, goals, as well as the situation with Korean and international seed business, including insights on Covid-19 and the  North Korea situation ....

RDA lettuce breeding development

The Rural Development Administration (RDA) has revealed progress and approaches with R&D for domestic lettuce varieties. An article by Korean language Amnews highlights various types of varieties in focus, covering targeted trait categories and parameters, including shelf-life, leaf-weight, nutrient-content, color, flower and vegetative periods ....

Year-round barley microgreen sprout production

The Jeheon-si Agricultural Technology Center, in North Chungcheong Province, is reporting success with trials for barley microgreens. As reported in Korean language news, the microgreens were sprouted in new 396㎡ facility, which was designed for year-round production ....

Fruit tree seedling plant disease prevention, surveillance measures

Korea’s Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs has issued a management plan aiming to bolster prevention of inspection of epidemiological plant diseases at fruit tree seedling production sites ....

Cereal seeds production stable in Gyeongnam

Inspections of cereal seed production sites have been carried out by the Gyeongnam Provincial Agricultural Research Service Administration announced. The inspections, carried out on 13ha of wheat seed production fields, focus on plant and grain health, especially the prevalence of pests and diseases ....

New oat, barley varieties for feed crops

The Gyeongju-si Agricultural Technology Center will distribute seeds of new, locally developed, feed-purposed oat and and green barley. The varieties were bred by the Rural Development Administration and the National Institute of Food Science and Technology to promote ....

Sweet potato variety improvement trials in Jeonbuk

The Jeonbuk Provincial Agricultural Research Institute has teamed up with the Rural Development Administration in Jinan County of North Jeolla or Jeonbuk Province to improve varieties and produce high-quality seeds of domestically grown sweet potatoes. Focusing on taste and yields, trials had been carried out between March to early May, focusing on ....

RDA issues soya seed sowing season guidelines

The Rural Development Administration (RDA) has issued a number of guidelines to Korean cultivators of soybean in anticipation for the Korean soya seed sowing season, which is during the month of June. The guidelines cover everything from variety selection to ....

Online course for seedling, nursery workers

The Plant Breeding Research Institute of Wonkwang University recently successfully conducted an online lecture to provide practical curriculum on raising seedlings. The two-day virtual training session was organized in response to Covid19 isolation measures, and was attended by a total of ....

Genetic resources to bolster domestic wheat self-sufficiency

The Rural Development Administration (RDA) through the Agricultural Genetic Resource Center is continuing to evaluate wheat genetic resources to identify high potential breeding material that could be used to develop new domestic wheat varieties as part of efforts to improve self-sufficiency of staple grains. According to figures cited in the report, the self-sufficiency rate for wheat in Korea ....

Tissue culture mass sapling propagation of larch trees

The National Forest Breeding Management Center, in cooperation with the National Forest Science Institute will mass-produce larch saplings from tissue culture seedlet samples, which will be distributed through the national nursery office. Larch is a coniferous tree of the genus Larix, and is an important symbolic species of Korea that grows fast and thus preferred as ....  

Read all these stories and more from Korea

Myanmar

400,000 acres to be ‘harnessed’ for rice seed, other crops

The Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Irrigation (MoALI) has announced agriculture relief plans, specifically through the COVID-19 Economic Relief Plan (CERP) which includes the “harnessing” of 400,000 acres of farmland, which includes a joint venture with the Myanmar Rice Federation to produce seeds on half the land, with the other half to  be used for ....

WUR assesses Myanmar seed sector challenges

Myanmar was among four developing countries whose seed sectors were assessed by Wageningen University & Research (WUR) and collaborating partners as part of efforts to “identify priority steps for enhancing food systems’ resilience in low and middle income countries” and “to identify current challenges and urgent action in Myanmar’s seed sector .... 

Read all these stories and more from Myanmar

New Zealand

Heaps of horticulture harvested in Hawkes Bay

This year apple and pear harvest is reported to be ‘one of the largest ever’. Despite difficulties brought on by Covid-19, horticulturalists successfully harvested some 400,000 tonnes of fruit. Of this, about 273,000 tonnes are bound for international markets ....

Call for comment on GM potato lines deemed safe as food

Food Standards Australia New Zealand on May 22 called for public comment on an application to approve food from two genetically modified potato lines, which have been genetically modified to reduce browning, reduce acrylamide potential and disease resistance to foliar late blight. The application seeks to use the GM potatoes, which will be grown abroad, to process products such as ....

Robot dogs could relieve NZ agriculture woes

Labor shortages in the farm sector of New Zealand could prove to be a problem of the past. New Zealand robotics company, partnering with a US company, are looking at the prospect of using a dog-like robot in the agriculture sector, which promises to relieve the need for human labor in herding sheep and inspecting crops ....

Start planting garlic, strawberries now: Opinion

Gardening has become a popular pastime as a result of lockdown measures. An Op Ed urges gardeners to start planting garlic, and strawberries this month for the most optimal end-of-year harvesting prospects ....

IPM approach for tackling TPP

A look into how the New Zealand and Australia potato industry stakeholders apply Integrated Pest Management principles and technology to address and tackle issues for the past 14 years with the tomato potato psyllid (TPP) and the bacterium it vectors ....

First flood, now droughts as farmers struggle to source winter feed

A Waikato dairy farmer is seeking to advocate for the state-owned Pāmu (Landcorp) to use land for cultivating winter crops as an alternative feed source for animals struggling due to lingering nationwide drought. Prior to the drought,  farmers had faced flooding, especially in Te Aroha,  Edgecumbe, and Southland .... 

Read all these stories and more from New Zealand

Pakistan

Cotton seed price intervention

The Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) on May 7 rejected a proposal from the Ministry of National Food and Security and Research to intervene with the price of seed cotton (phutti) at 4,224 rupees per 40 kgs ....

Committee calls for probe into poor seed, pesticide quality

The Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry’s Standing Committee on Agriculture has called for the government to look into issues related to substandard quality of seeds and pesticides. Among the issues raised is very poor germination of  cotton seeds and ineffective pesticides ....

Cotton sowing guidelines issued

The Farmers Advisory Committee (FAC) has issued a number of cotton sowing guidelines for farmers planning to sow seeds during the month of May. Among their suggestions include treating seeds to address pest threats, while only sowing registered seed varieties approved by the government, in addition to sowing quantity recommendations ....

PARC pushes mechanical sowing to boost rice productivity

The Chairman of the Pakistan Agricultural Research Council (PARC), Dr. Muhammad Azeem Khan, during a visit to Gujranwala, has rice cultivators that mechanical sowing of the crop could increase productivity by up to 15% while saving on manual labour ....

Bad weather woes for Shangla crops

Heavy rains, snowfall, hailstorms, cold weather and landslides have caused hardship for people in the Shangla District of the Malakand Division of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province ....

Ag only sector to grow as economy retracts for first time in 68 years

For the first time in 68 years, Pakistan’s economy will have marginally contracted by, suggests data covering the most recent fiscal year, which ends June 30, reveals..  This negative forecast  stems from “adverse impacts of the novel coronavirus coupled with economic stabilization policies that had hit the industrial sector much before the deadly pandemic.” However, the agriculture sector grew by 2.7% .... 

Read all these stories and more from Pakistan

Thailand

BIOTEC rapid hybrid seed purity test praised for being quick and accurate

Dr. Wirulda Pootakham, researcher at the National Center for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology (BIOTEC) has been praised her work to develop an award-winning HybridSure DNA-based purity test. The rapid test can deliver accurate hybrid purity results within a day, compared to conventional ....

East-West Thailand donates seeds, growing extension as part of Covid-19 outreach

East-West Seed Thailand has signed two different Memorandum Of Understandings -- in April and May -- committing tens of thousands of seed packs and community uplifting as part of its latest community outreach efforts to improve the livelihoods of local farmers ....

Chia Tai gifts half-a-million seed packets for Covid-19 relief

Chia Tai has joined hands with the Community Development Department to distribute 500,000 vegetable seed packets to create food security and ease COVID-19 impacts. The seeds were donated as part of a 90-day action plan .....

Boy’s crop loss Facebook Live post draws seed aide from Interior Ministry

When a 12-year-old boy in the Muang district of Songkhla turned to social media to voice his complaints of cows eating his water convulous crops, he soon became the talk of town, prompting attention and visit from the Interior Ministry. It turned out the boy had been growing the vegetables to sell ....

HRH Princess Donates Veg Seeds to Locals

Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn has donated several dozen Royal Project vegetable seed kits to families living near the Mengrai Fort in Chiang Rai province of Northern Thailand .... 

Read all these stories and more from Thailand

The Philippines 

Quezon City distributes free veg seeds for ‘Joy of Urban Farming’ program

The Quezon city government in cooperation with the  Department of Agriculture (DA) will distribute vegetable seeds to residents as part of a  'Joy of Urban Farming program’ . The free seeds will be included in about 6,000 starter kits, which include a variety of vegetables such as eggplant, okra, tomato, pechay, mustard, ampaya and spinach, in addition to  organic fertilizer, potting bags, and a starter manual ....

Veg, rice production bolstered in Maguindanao

The Governor of the province of Maguindanao is urging Local Government Units to encourage farmers to grow more vegetables. The news comes amidst “uncertainty as to whether normalcy will be restored due to the crisis caused by the Covid-19 Pandemic.” Accordingly, vegetable seedlings have been prepared and distributed ....

Drought-afflicted corn farmers in Isabela to get duck reinforcement

Some 40 farmers in Iligan City, of Isabela province will be given ducks to raise as part of crisis mitigation efforts led by the Dept of Agriculture. The farmers’ crop had been greatly affected by a drought, and not to mention, ongoing COVID-19 restrictions .... 

Read all these stories and more from the Philippines

United Arab Emirates 

Fall Armyworm confirmed in UAE

The all-conquering pest spodoptera frugiperda (fall armyworm) has been detected in crop fields in the areas of Al Ain, Al Dafra and Abu Dhabi of the United Arab Emirates. The news was confirmed in a May 7 report from the International Plant Protection Commission (IPPC), citing a national  survey that detected larvae in corn fields, with an initial infestation rate reported to be about 0.003% of all of UAE’s agricultural areas.

Vietnam

Amending Vietnam’s 10-year-old GM & Biosafety regulation

A proposal to amend Vietnam’s GMO regulations -- Decree No. 69/2010 Decree No. 69/2010 / ND-CP of June 21, 2010, covering biosafety of genetically modified organisms, genetic specimens and products of genetically modified organisms -- is in review, pending public commentary ....

VNR20 rice high yielding & profitable, affirms evaluation

The Tuyen Quang Province Department of Agriculture and Rural Development Office sponsored a conference to evaluate Vietnam National Seed Corporation (VINASEED) VNR20 rice variety. It was concluded that the promising variety -- first planted by 144 households on 9.5 hectares in Tan Ha, Phường La and Tuyen Quang wards during January 2020 -- is pest resistant and offers yield stability ....

World’s Best Rice’ backed by PVP, assures MARD

Voted the World’s Best Rice at the 11th World Rice Trade Conference last November in Manila, Vietnam’s long-grain Vietnamese jasmine fragrant rice, or ST24 variety received its plant variety protection certificate or PVP (No. 28. VN.2018) from the Department of Crop Production (MARD) in 2018 ....

Hanoi Pushing high-tech agricultural projects

Hanoi published a list of 11 direct investment projects for 2019 - 2025, including seven high-tech agricultural production projects with total investment of 5,200 billion dong (US$222,966). Examples of Vietnam’s recent agricultural breakthroughs include ....

Nha Ho new grapes, other crops show promise for SW Vietnam

The Vietnam Academy of Agricultural Sciences’ Nha Ho Cotton Research and Agricultural Development Institute since 2016 has introduced 22 new asparagus, 9 guava, 9 mango, 8 custard apple, 8 jackfruit, 7 longan;  as well as several promising apple and grape varieties, which are suitably adapted to the local climate and soil in ....

Persistent drought in Central Vietnam

The Vietnamese government continues to implement measures to cope with drought, heat, and saltwater intrusion in the Central Region and Central Highlands. The Prime Minister’s Office issued Directive No. 04 / CT-TTg effective since January has mandated for provincial and metropolitan Peoples’ Committees “not to let people suffer from ....

Terrace melons in the heart of Hanoi

Nguyen Thi Thuong Huyen, 38, is now producing some 300 kg of melons annually in 70 pots on her 30 square-meter terrace in rainy Hanoi. Going into her fourth year since her first successful grow in 2017, she cultivates a number of varieties, including Korean, Thai, Pear, and Cabernet melons. Quality is evaluated using ....

SOFRI’s ‘Plant Hospital’ and Advisory Center

The Southern Fruit Research Institute (SOFRI) long has been a core resource in development of Vietnam southern provinces’ fruit, vegetable and flower industries, credited with many varieties of fruit trees, bioproducts, processes and models for quality vegetable and fruit production. SOFRI guidelines also ensure food hygiene and safety in the Mekong Delta, Southeast and Western provinces ....

‘Superior quality’ hybrid rice for north-central coast

The LY2099 hybrid rice variety reportedly offers both superior productivity and quality, and is easy to cultivate. The three-line hybrid is planted widely in the North Central Coast province of Thanh Hoa under differing soil conditions, climatic sub-regions and levels of cultivation. The variety features high productivity and tastiness, and is less expensive than many other hybrids ....

Peanut Farmers’ abundant yields in Minh Hoa

Mountainous Minh Hoa District’s winter-spring peanut crop this year in the North Central Coast province of Quảng Bình has been good, and prices are high. The district agricultural office reports nearly 770 hectares planted to peanuts, with excellent growing conditions and fewer pests, affording a “much higher” ratio of ....

Breathing new life into stale coffee plantings

The Vietnam - Sustainable Agriculture Transformation (VnSAT) Project is revivifying aged coffee plantations in Vietnam’s Central Highlands. Cultivators with 20-year-old plantings in 2015 found their coffee beans’ quality had worsened, with decreasing productivity and many sick or dying trees. VnSAT advised they should .... 

Read all these stories and more from Vietnam

"The season of failure is the best time for sowing the seeds of success."

- Paramahansa Yogananda

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