Category Archives: Issue: Agricultural Trade

News Digest: South Korea’s Agricultural Exports Reach $5.8 Billion In 2010, As Confidence In Product Quality Increases

Better quality control and more demand from abroad pushed South Korea’s agricultural exports to a record $5.8 billion in 2010. The Ministry of Food, Forestry, and Fisheries cited the export of ginseng, dried laver, beverages and processed food as the main drivers of the 22.3 percent growth in exports over 2009’s US$4.81 billion. Tuna, sugar, and tobacco were among the 10 export products that went beyond the US$100 million mark, again topping 2009’s 8 products. With Japan as its biggest market for farm exports at US$1.8 billion, followed by China at US$786.7 million and ASEAN at US$719.8 million, South Korea’s exports of other products such as strawberries, flowers, mushrooms, and oysters also increased at double-digits, while traditional rice wine makgeolli, kimchi, and citron tea products also grew quickly. It aims to grow exports again by 29 percent in 2011 to reach US$7.6 billion, as confidence in South Korean product quality continues to improve.

Source: Financial Chronicle, January 4, 2011

AFA participates in the Sixth ASEAN People’s Forum

(Photo courtesy of Corinna Araneta Lopa)

The Asian Farmers’ Association for Sustainable Rural Development (AFA) participated in the Sixth ASEAN People’s Forum (APF6), held in Hanoi, Vietnam, last September 24-26, 2010.

The APF6 was aimed at helping strengthen solidarity and cooperation among ASEAN people for a people-oriented ASEAN community that will really be for their benefit.

Carrying the theme “Solidarity and Action for a People-Oriented ASEAN”, the forum was attended by around 700 delegates representing people’s organizations of different sectors from ASEAN countries.

AFA and its members, Viet Nam Farmers’ Union (VNFU) and Aliansi Petani Indonesia (API), co-organized the “Forum Workshop on Peasantry Food Sovereignty and Rural Development”.

Amalia Pulungan and Fadil Kaiom of API spoke about land reform in Indonesia and Vu Le y Voan of VNFU spoke about farmers’ access to market, while AFA played its video entitled “Farmers’ Rights, Farmers’ Lives” during the workshop.

AFA also helped in preparing the workshop report together with Action Aid International and VNFU, while Manh Hung of VNFU moderated the session.

AFA and its members also participated in the workshop entitled “ASEAN FTAS: Boon or Bane to Development and Regional Integration? “

AFA Secretary General Esther Penunia presented AFA’s proposals for a regional agriculture trade agenda in ASEAN during the workshop.

AFA and its members also participated in the workshop entitled “Assessing ASEAN Social Protection Responses to Financial Crisis toward Developing Comprehensive and Sustainable Solution.”

(Photo courtesy of Corinna Araneta Lopa)

Manh Hung of VNFU spoke on the problems and recommendations on international development finance , while Esther Penunia of AFA spoke about the impact of the financial crisis on small scale men and women farmers in SEA countries during the workshop.

Click here for the program of the APF6

Click here for the final statement of the APF6

Click here for other documents and press releases

For more news and information about Asian farmers, go to:

In the News: China steals Taiwan’s agriculture

The signing of the Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement (ECFA) this summer has opened the door for Taiwan’s agricultural and fishery exports and energized the government.

At the same time, however, the Chinese government is setting up “innovation parks for Taiwanese farmers” and “experimental areas for cross-strait agricultural cooperation” with the intention of attracting skilled personnel, animal and plant species, technology and capital in an attempt to emulate the Taiwanese experience.

The resulting agricultural products would have the advantages of Taiwanese species, realistic pricing and stable supply. They would attract Chinese consumers far more than agricultural products from Taiwan, and the negative impact on Taiwanese farmers would by far surpass the advantages that would come from the import tax exemptions offered on 18 products.

Read the full story at Taipei Times

In the News (Cambodia): UN vows to help govt trade better

CAMBODIA risks falling behind its regional partners in trade if it does not adapt to the highly-competitive world of global commerce, officials said Wednesday at the close of a two-day trade-facilitation workshop, where the UN’s Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) pledged to help identify cost and time bottlenecks that could mean the difference between commercial success or lost contracts.

While acknowledging the garment industry’s importance as a source of exports, Bangkok-based ESCAP Trade Facilitation Chief Shamika Sirimanne singled out the Kingdom’s agriculture sector as being “key to trade”, but an example of how exposed Cambodia is to barriers to commerce.

“Seventy-five percent of Cambodians are farmers and that’s largely where the poor also are,” Sirimanne said.

Read the full story