What else? 31st Edition of Foodcom PLANT-BASED Newsletter

Author Foodcom
Reading time 8 minut
Publication date 16 March 2023


Belgian farmers expressed their “slight” discontent

Nearly 3 000 tractors drove through the streets of Brussels in early March. They carried farmers who had come to the capital to protest the government’s policy to reduce fertilizer emissions. The protesters pointed out that the agricultural sector is constantly changing and adapting to the challenges posed by the struggle for a better future for the planet. At the same time, they argue that the nitrogen agreement in its current form will have devastating socio-economic consequences. In their view, it will put more of a burden on the agricultural sector than on the industrial sector, which naturally angers them.

A smaller beet acreage in France makes Tereos think

One of the world’s largest sugar producers has decided to reorganize the business as it receives fewer beets from farmers. Tereos is expected to receive up to 10% less beets this season, as the area under sugar beets in France has fallen to a 14-year low. One of the main reasons for the negative changes is the restrictions on pesticide use and farmers’ concerns about how these regulations will affect yields (we have written about this several times before). So, the saga continues…

Another European city, another wave of protests

Some 10,000 Dutch farmers have protested in The Hague against the government’s policy on nitrogen emissions. The protesters are certain that continuing the current emissions policy will have disastrous consequences for agriculture and food production. Some are even convinced that the government does not care at all about the state of the environment, and that its only goal is to deprive farmers of their land. The reason for the unrest is the government’s ambitious goal of halving the country’s nitrogen emissions by 2030.

The Americas

The tragic drought in Argentina will have a significant impact on grain production

Many had hoped that South American grain production would recover this year after a difficult last season, but all indications are that it will be worse. Last year’s drought hit crops in Brazil and Argentina hard. According to experts, the current situation could lead to the worst losses ever suffered by Argentine agriculture. So far, there are no signs of improvement as short-term forecasts continue to predict dry and hot weather conditions.

Changes in the structure of U.S. grain exports

U.S. soybean exports reached a record high in early 2023, while corn exports declined due to last year’s huge corn crop in Brazil. The opening of China at the turn of the year was essential for the increase in soybean exports, especially since exports of this grain to other destinations have declined noticeably.

Brazilian government announces expansion of GM wheat testing

Brazil’s agricultural research agency plans to expand testing of a drought-tolerant, genetically modified wheat variety. The background to this is the country’s desire to become self-sufficient in staple crops and, in the long term, a major exporter. The fact that this is happening now is no coincidence: permission to grow and sell GM wheat in Brazil was granted just a few days ago. Genetically modified, more adaptable plants are clearly the wheat to go forward for Brazil.

Asia & Oceania

Indonesia cuts palm oil exports, Malaysia gains

Indonesia has announced the suspension of some palm oil export licenses. The aim is to secure domestic supplies in the face of rising edible oil prices ahead of the upcoming Islamic holidays. As a result, more buyers are turning to palm oil from Malaysia. Following the unrest, palm oil stocks in Malaysia are dwindling. Another factor is the heavy rains that have limited production growth.

The torrential rains in Australia have finally made a positive difference

Current forecasts indicate that Australia’s agricultural exports will reach a record high this season. One of the main supporting factors is the heavy rains that have hit the country. Australian winter grain production, driven primarily by wheat, is expected to reach a new record of 67.3 million tons in 2022-23. The value of agricultural exports alone is expected to reach $75 billion in 2022-23. Those are nice numbers, there’s no denying that.

Malaysian palm oil and rubber producers oppose EU policy

Malaysian palm oil and rubber producers on Wednesday submitted a petition to the European Union opposing legal solutions to restrict imports of commodities whose production risks deforestation. Representatives of the Malaysian industry called the regulations “unilateral and unrealistic” and stressed that they will make it more difficult for small farmers in particular to access the European market. They also believe they are extremely unjustified, considering how much smaller Malaysian farmers have achieved in terms of forest protection and sustainable production. Some oil should definitely be poured into these troubled waters of cooperation with the EU.