Agriculture

An end to Asia Pulp & Paper's deforestation?
February 08, 2013
The Asia Pulp & Paper Group (APP) – one of the world's largest paper companies – has pledged to stop its suppliers cutting down natural forests in Indonesia. It hopes this will help preserve the threatened habitats of endangered species, increase respect for the rights of the region’s indigenous peoples and reduce greenhouse gas emissions from carbon-rich peatland. APP worked with environmental NGOs Greenpeace and the The Forest Trust (TFT) on the plan, which came into effect at the beginning of February.
Vietnam's government is aware of the dangerous repercussions of climate change on energy supplies and demand. Deputy head of the Ministry of Industry and Trade's Institute of Energy, Nguyen Ba Cuong, told a workshop that climate change impacts could cause an increase in demand for energy, leading to an increased dependence on imported energy, especially coal.
Palm oil companies are grabbing more than 1.5 million acres of land in Liberia and are violating human rights of local communities, warn Liberian NGOs including Friends of the Earth Liberia (SDI - Sustainable Development Institute), Save My Future Foundation (SAMFU) and Social Entrepreneurs for Sustainable Development (SESDev).
China's State Council has issued a circular on soil pollution that sets out a plan to contain the increasingly severe problem. It has ordered a thorough survey into soil conditions be conducted by 2015 and a system be established to rigorously protect arable land and land where drinking water originates.
Read Full Story As if there wasn’t enough controversy surrounding palm oil in Asia already, environmental groups in the Philippines are now raising alarm bells over a plan to establish a one-million hectare plantation on top of what is thought to be the region’s largest wetlands in the Philippines. According to a report in the Manila Bulletin, quoting Mindanao Development Authority Secretary Lualhati Antonino, the plantation is backed by a Malaysian group led by the Putraya Chamber of Commerce and Industry and will be located least partially on Liguasan Marsh in Mindanao.
Chinese banquet food waste
January 28, 2013
Kids leaving their school lunches uneaten beware! The Chinese government has been advised to criminalize the wasting of food. Yuan Longping, described by Xinhua as China’s most famous agricultural scientist, made the proposal on China Central Television last week. “I am proposing that the government make (regulations and policies) to encourage people to despise the waste of food and to treat it like a crime,” said Yuan.
Read Full Story India has introduced tax on crude palm oil imports for the first time since 2008. According to India's Agriculture ministry crude palm and soybean oil imports will be taxed at 2.5 percent, while the tariff on purchases of refined cooking oils will be maintained at 7.5 percent.
The private equity arm of investment giant Fidelity International has invested USD54 million in biotechnology company, Richcore Lifesciences. The eight-year old Indian company specializes in biofuel and agricultural industries, among other products and is based in Bangalore.
Seal oil will be banned in Taiwan when the country’s amended Wildlife Conservation Act takes effect at the end of January at the earliest.  
Palm oil plantatation
January 07, 2013
With the year barely out of the gates, reports indicate a bumpy road ahead for palm oil producers, heavily concentrated in Malaysia and Indonesia, with demand faltering and further pressure being brought on the industry by environmentalists. Bloomberg reported today that a survey it had done suggest palm oil stockpiles in Malaysia were near record highs in December with inventories at about 2.53 million tonnes, barely changed from the 2.56 tonnes of the previous month.