Archive for the ‘food processing’ Category

U.N. agencies weigh response to food crisis

April 28, 2008

GENEVA (Reuters) – Leading figures from the United Nations met in Switzerland on Monday to chart a solution to dramatic food price increases that have caused hunger, riots and hoarding in poor countries around the world.
Vietnam acted to quell panic over rice supplies on Monday, banning speculation in the market after a “chaotic” buying binge in the Southeast Asian nation highlighted growing global fears about food security. 
A Vietnamese rice paddy worker….

The move by the world’s second-biggest rice exporter came as protests continued in some states in Africa over soaring costs for food and fuel which aid experts say threaten to push 100 million people worldwide into hunger.

Against this backdrop, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon gathered together the heads of 27 international agencies including the World Bank, World Food Programme and World Trade Organisation to coordinate a response.

Officials familiar with the closed-door session said the main priority was to ensure that food aid reached those desperately affected by surging prices of wheat, rice, dairy products and other dietary staples.

Ban, who has described rising food prices as a “global crisis” and urged world leaders to discuss ways to improve food distribution systems and production, will address the press in the Swiss capital Berne on Tuesday.

Ban Ki-moon
Ban Ki-moon

Experts have linked the problems to factors including drought in Australia, higher fuel costs, the use of crops for biofuels and speculation on global commodity markets.

U.S. President George W. Bush is considering “what other aspects need to be taken care of” to help ease the crisis after announcing a $200 million increase in food aid earlier this month, according to White House spokeswoman Dana Perino.

“He’s really concerned about the humanitarian condition around the world,” she told reporters on Monday.

Meanwhile world aid groups continue to reel from the jump in food prices. World Vision, one of the globe’s largest humanitarian organizations, said it may have cut 1.5 million people, or 23 percent, from its aid program because of a strained budget.

“Despite our best efforts, more than a million of our beneficiaries are no longer receiving food aid,” said Dean Hirsch, president of World Vision International. “At least a third of these are children who urgently need enough healthy food to thrive.”

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Japanese food makers shun China for Thailand

October 11, 2007

Sent by our staff in Thailand

Hundreds of Japanese food processors that have relocated to China from Thailand over the past decade are expected to return due to growing concerns over food safety, says Paiboon Ponsuwanna. Mr Paiboon, the chairman of the Food Processing Industry Club of the Federation of Thai Industries, said worries about chemical contamination and food safety had affected confidence among Japanese consumers of goods produced in China.

Thailand could be a strong beneficiary, as Japanese small and medium-sized producers who had relocated to China consider returning to Thailand, he said.

The FTI plans to hold talks with the Japanese Chamber of Commerce and the Japan External Trade Organisation about matchmaking activities and building trading networks between local and Japanese businesses.

Mr Paiboon said Thai ready-to-eat products could be positioned as premium-grade goods, with Chinese products marketed as more basic products.

He said the enactment of the Japan-Thai free-trade agreement starting next month would also lead hundreds of Japanese food processors in the country to expand their production capacity to take advantage of tariff gains.

The National Food Institute (NFI) said exports of food products this year are expected to reach $17.72 billion, up 18.3% from last year. In baht terms, food exports are projected at 608.04 billion baht, up 7.8% from last year.

Yuthasak Supasorn, an executive director of the NFI, said exports of commodities such as palm oil, sugar, cassava and non-alcoholic beverages had risen by as high as 40% this year.

But shipments of fruit and vegetable juice, canned tuna and shrimp had been flat or had even declined due to supply constraints.

Mr Yuthasak said food exports in 2008 are expected to rise at least 10% in both US dollar and baht terms.

Rice exports next year are expected to rise to nine million tonnes in 2008 from 8.5 million tonnes this year due to supply constraints in Vietnam and India, he added.