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JAPAN SPOTLIGHT

Japanese officials considering imposing stricter GM labelling laws

Reports from Japan suggest officials are weighing up imposing stricter rules for the mandatory labelling of food items containing genetically modified foods.

Farming returning to Mosul even as fighting continues to ravage city

Thousands of the poorest residents of the war-torn region around Mosul, along with hundreds of thousands of other struggling Iraqis, are being given the chance to earn for themselves again thanks to a new project that is restoring irrigation to 250,000 hectares of farmland.

Europe donates millions to Yemen to boost food production

The European Union has committed €12m (US$12.7m) in support of efforts to tackle rising hunger among the 14m food-insecure residents of strife-torn Yemen.

India

Minister to monitor dreaded food inflation ahead of bumper harvest

The government has made maintaining stable prices of all essential food items a priority this year in a bid to manage food inflation and temper unrest.

Orange peel extract from Xinhui and Sichuan boast 'best' anti-inflammatory properties, study finds

Obtaining dried citrus peel (chenpi) from mandarins or tangerines grown in Sichuan or Xinhui in China can provide potentially superior benefits in nutraceuticals and functional foods compared to conventional sources, a new study has found.

Aussie Manuka honey found to have same anti-bacterial properties as famed NZ counterpart

Like its more popular New Zealand version, Australian Manuka honey has also been found to contain powerful antibacterial properties, leading to hopes it could tap into the lucrative medicinal honey market. 

Asian mothers on a ‘seafood-noodle’ diet at reduced risk of gestational diabetes: Study

Researchers have demonstrated a significant association between a seafood and noodle-based dietary pattern and the reduced likelihood of gestational diabetes.

Australia

Enzymes key to why some crops can weather extremes better than others

Research to develop food crops that produce bigger yields and cope better with drought has identified a key enzyme that might explain why sorghum and millet are more productive and can withstand extreme conditions better than wheat and rice.

Australian fruit exporter takes bigger slice of apple pie

Finding small windows of opportunity on the other side of the world and using camera and laser technology to pinpoint specific flavours is helping an Australian apple producer reach new markets.

Farming in the desert: Quinoa could transform agriculture in the Gulf

Experts have urged Gulf states to look to an Andean super-food beloved of hipsters as a staple crop at a time when groundwater supplies are shrinking and becoming more saline.

FAO opens Lebanon office to boost conflict-hit food supplies

The director-general of the Food and Agriculture office of the United Nations has blamed conflicts in the Middle East for a doubling of undernourished people in the region as he visited a new regional office in Lebanon.

International task force formed to tackle food security in Bangladesh

Bangladesh’s food ministry will join the International Food Policy Research Institute (Ifpri) and an American university to launch a comprehensive food security research project to address food security in the country.

UAE agribusiness buys Aussie feed producer to mitigate market risks

Al Dahra Agriculture has bought an Australia based feed producer to “geographically diversify investments, ensure product availability across all seasons and mitigate market risks.”

Australia

Tech centre will produce fruit fly drones to wipe out costly pest

A new weapon against one of the world’s worst horticultural pests has been unveiled in Australia, in the form of a research centre that will produce 50m sterile male flies each week.

News in brief

Market update: Indian ginger prices plummet

Indian dry ginger prices have plunged to just 40% of their value last November due to an abundant supply of raw materials.  

Sri Lanka

Nestlé helps coconut growers with plantlets and model farms

Nestlé will donate 10,000 coconut plantlets to 2,000 farmers and develop two model coconut farms to demonstrate best growing practices.

South Asia radius

Amira joins select few firms with permission to ship rice to China

Dubai-based Amira Nature Foods, which manufactures packaged Indian specialty rice, is now one of only a select few Indian companies allowed to export rice to China after they were granted approval for basmati shipments. 

Pomegranate push gets ready to bear fruit in Australian wine region

A sustainable farming company is building one of the world’s largest privately-owned pomegranate gene banks to help revive the potentially lucrative industry Down Under.

Developing countries with high TB burden need ‘oral vaccine’ of a balanced diet

To ‘continue neglecting nutrition’ is incompatible with the World Health Organization’s goal of reducing tuberculosis (TB) by 90% by 2035, a leading academic from India has claimed.

Dateline Southeast Asia

Climate change could draw 2m more Filipinos into hunger

A further 2m Filipinos risk hunger at an annual cost of some PHP145bn (US$3bn) by 2050, though effective policymaking could reduce the impact.

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