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5 areas under red tide alert

THE BUREAU of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) warned that shellfish collected at Matarino Bay in Eastern Samar, Lianga Bay in Surigao del Sur, coastal waters of Dauis and Tagbilaran City in Bohol, and the coastal waters of Milagros in Masbate are still positive for paralytic shellfish poison beyond the regulatory limit.

Negros Occidental to pilot free-seed program for three varieties of rice

NEGROS OCCIDENTAL will become the first provincial government to invest in a seed production program focused on at most three rice varieties, Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel F. Piñol said on Sunday.

Former NFA head calls for removal of grains agency’s licensing authority

THE National Food Authority (NFA) should not have regulatory powers and be reduced to a logistics agency instead, its former administrator said.

Rosita out of PAR as gov’t takes stock of damage

RESCUERS worked with bare hands and shovels to try to free 23 people trapped under earth and rubble on Wednesday, after Typhoon Rosita (international name Yutu) dumped heavy rains on the northern mountainous region, triggering floods and deadly landslides, Reuters reported.

Initial rice import shipments of 47,000 MT arriving by Dec. 1

THE 47,000 metric tons (MT) of rice awarded to bidders in the latest import auction will arrive by Dec. 1, Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel F. Piñol said.

Manila rated 95th in 100-city sustainability study

MANILA ranked 95th out of 100 global cities in the 2018 Sustainable Cities Index (SCI) compiled by design and consultancy firm Arcadis, beating out only Hanoi and Kolkata among the Asian metropolises evaluated.

DA backs emergency powers to speed up post-storm recovery

AGRICULTURE SECRETARY Emmanuel F. Piñol said he supports the granting of emergency powers to President Rodrigo R. Duterte by Congress that will allow him to act more decisively in response to calamities like typhoons.

DTI says open to US ‘collaboration’ on domestic meat rules

THE Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) said the Philippines does not expect to ease its meat-handling standards as part of any trade deal with the United States, amid pressure for Washington to align Manila’s rules with international practice.

Palay farmgate prices fall over 3% in mid-October

THE Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) said the average farmgate price for palay, or unmilled rice, fell 3.16% week-on-week in the second week of October to P21.17 per kilogram (kg).

Hog farmers oppose pork free trade deal with US

THE National Federation of Hog Farmers Inc. (NFHFI) said it opposes free trade in pork products between the Philippines and the US after the US hog industry expressed interest in expanding its footprint in the Philippines.

DENR fines 219 establishments on day four of Boracay reopening

THE Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) said on Monday that 219 business establishments in Boracay have been fined a total of P43 million for violating environmental laws after the tourist island was reopened last Friday, Oct. 26, following a six-month rehabilitation.

Trader expects self-sufficiency in coffee crop to be possible soon

HENRY & SONS, a coffee trader, said that it expects self-sufficiency to be possible in the Philippine coffee market as the industry strives to improve both volume and quality.

Mapping technology seen helping PCA improve tree count

THE Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA) is seeking to adopt mapping technology to improve its estimates of coconut production per region.

Big push for soy consumption addressing production bottlenecks

THE Philippine Center for Postharvest Development and Mechanization (PHilMech) said that it is aiming to boost the soybean crop for human consumption by developing new processing equipment for farmers.

US pork industry backs free trade deal with PHL

THE US National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) said that it hopes Washington will conclude a free trade agreement (FTA) with the Philippines, which it views as a priority market.

Grab plans to appeal PCC’s P12 million fine

GRAB Philippines said on Friday that it will file a motion for reconsideration after it was fined P12 million by the Philippine Competition Commission (PCC) for alleged compliance failures in connection with its acquisition of the Southeast Asian business of Uber.

Philex Mining to raise stake in PXP Energy to nearly 26%

PHILEX Mining Corp. said on Friday that it signed and executed an agreement in relation to its subscription for 260 million common shares of PXP Energy Corp. at P11.85 each or a total of P3.081 billion.

Sugar lobby wants 6-month fuel excise freeze

THE Confederation of Sugar Producers’ Associations (CONFED) of Negros and Panay urged the government to extend the suspension of excise tax for fuel in order not to increase the production cost of sugar.

Parañaque ‘landport’ opens by Nov. 5

THE PARAÑAQUE Integrated Terminal Exchange (PITX), awarded to Megawide-Waltermart (MWM) Terminals Inc., is set to open on Nov. 5, the Department of Transportation announced on Thursday.

DA to test anti-counterfeiting technology for import permits

THE Department of Agriculture (DA) hopes to conduct a pilot text next year of chip-embedded import certificates to deter falsification of the documents.

US sets PHL sugar export quota for 2018-2019

THE United States has allocated an initial volume of 142,160 metric tons raw value (MTRV) or 136,201 metric tons commercial weight (MTCW) of sugar for the Philippines as its quota for 2018-2019, according to Sugar Order No. 3 of the Sugar Regulatory Administration (SRA).

Cimatu orders Benguet local board to fast-track minahang bayan declaration

DEPARTMENT OF Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Secretary Roy A. Cimatu has directed the Provincial Mining Regulatory Board (PMRB) in Benguet to fast-track the declaration of a minahang bayan for small-scale miners.

Unawarded rice import contracts to be rebid soon

AGRICULTURE Secretary Emmanuel F. Piñol said that the rebidding for unawarded lots in the first batch of rice imports will be conducted “right away” alongside the subsequent batches amounting to 500,000 metric tons.

Sorghum touted as response to rising feed demand, prices

THE Department of Agriculture (DA) will promote sorghum planting next year to supplement the supply of animal feed, which is currently dependent on yellow corn, Secretary Emmanuel F. Piñol said on Monday.

Planting calendar changes must be site-specific, academic says

ADJUSTMENTS to the planting calendar require detailed consultation with farmers to account for local differences in crop growth, a University of the Philippines Los Baños (UPLB) academic said.

DA calls conventional irrigation obsolete, pushes for solar

AGRICULTURE SECRETARY Emmanuel F. Piñol said on Monday that his department is pushing for the wider adoption of solar-powered irrigation systems (SPIS) as a means of attaining rice self-sufficiency.

Transport agencies ready for Undas

THE DEPARTMENT of Transportation (DOTr) announced yesterday that its attached agencies are all prepared for the Oplan Biyaheng Ayos: Undas 2018, which will be implemented from Oct. 27 to Nov. 5 for the observance of All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day next week.

DA to expand MAV imports of chipping potatoes

THE Department of Agriculture (DA) will implement a unilateral minimum access volume (MAV) on chipping potatoes at 25,000 metric tons (MT) starting Oct. 25 which would bring down tariff rates to 3% from 40% within that volume.

NFA import deals face rebid as sellers hold out

THE National Food Authority (NFA) awarded only three rice import contracts on Thursday accounting for 47,000 metric tons (MT), a small fraction of the 250,000 MT it was authorized to order, as most of the 14 bidders made offers far above the agency’s reference price.

LGUs need upgraded technical skills to fight climate change — professor

SCIENTIFIC proficiency at the local government unit (LGU) level is required to help them deal with climate change, an academic said.

Stronger cooperation needed to protect Sulu-Sulawesi marine habitat

GERMAN INTERNATIONAL development cooperation agency Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH has called for immediate cooperation among the Philippines, Malaysia, and Indonesia to save endangered species in the Sulu-Sulawesi waters from overfishing and habitat degradation.

California bird imports banned on disease fears

THE Department of Agriculture (DA) ordered a temporary ban on the importation of domestic and wild birds, including game fowl, from California due to a reported outbreak of virulent Newcastle Disease.

US projects 2018 PHL dairy imports at 2.7 MT

PHILIPPINE imports of dairy products are estimated at 2.7 metric tons of liquid milk equivalent (MT LME), up from 2.5 million in 2017 the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA)’s Global Agricultural Information Network (GAIN) said.

PSA cuts third-quarter palay, corn output estimates

THE Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) said it cut its estimate for output of palay, or unmilled rice, in the three months to September to 3.25 million metric tons (MMT), from the previous estimate of 3.32 MMT.

DA encourages grain retailers to import rice

AGRICULTURE Secretary Emmanuel F. Piñol said Tuesday that grain retailers should start participating in the import market to make sales of the grain more direct, bringing down prices.

Boracay coliform level down to 18 from ‘thousands, millions’

ENVIRONMENT SECRETARY Roy A. Cimatu reported that the coliform level in Boracay is now at 18.1 most probable number (MPN) per 100 milliliter (ml), significantly down from the “thousands or even millions” level prior to the closing of the island in April.

Fuel excise freeze expected to bring down food prices

THE suspension of excise tax hikes on fuel for 2019 will have a marked impact on food prices, particularly fish, because of the sector’s sensitivity to fuel prices, Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel F. Piñol told reporters.

Planting season adjustment eyed to minimize storm damage

AGRICULTURE SECRETARY Emmanuel F. Piñol said that the department is in talks with the irrigation agency to facilitate adjustments to the planting calendar in order to minimize typhoon damage to farms in northern Luzon in September and October.

LGUs urged to develop wet market cold storage

THE National Meat Inspection Service (NMIS) said it will seek to boost cold storage facilities in wet markets in cooperation with local government units (LGUs) to prevent meat from being rejected on inspection.

NFA plans to keep rice supply balanced even with more imports

THE National Food Authority (NFA) said President Rodrigo R. Duterte’s order to freely import rice will not disadvantage farmers as the government will remain responsible for keeping the overall rice supply in equilibrium.

Bounty Fresh building up Indonesia chicken operation

BOUNTY FRESH Food Inc. has started building poultry feed and growing facilities in Indonesia, a company official said.

Agri dep’t opens TienDA farmers’ market in Taguig

THE Department of Agriculture (DA) said it opened a direct-from-farmers store in Taguig City as part of continuing measures to offer low-cost farm products to the public.

BFAR orders tracking systems for all commercial fishing boats

THE Department of Agriculture (DA), through the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR), said all commercial fishing vessels are subject to government tracking and must have vessel monitoring measures (VMM) and electronic reporting systems (ERS).

Boracay tourists advised: No booking in establishments without gov’t clearance

THE DEPARTMENT of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) warned tourists in Boracay against making reservations in establishments which have not yet received government clearance to operate.

Globe says tower-building industry needs more participants

GLOBE Telecom Inc said on Friday that the government’s decision to limit the field to two independent companies in the tower-building industry will hinder efforts to develop faster Internet connectivity in the Philippines.