Posts Tagged ‘fruits’

U.S. Farm-Export Prices Drop Most Since 2011

August 14, 2018

Prices for U.S. farm exports dropped in July by the most in more than six years as a trade war with China heated up, Labor Department figures showed Tuesday.

Image may contain: one or more people, cloud, sky and food

Agricultural export prices fell 5.3 percent from the prior month, the biggest drop since October 2011, as soybean prices plummeted 14.1 percent. Export prices for corn, wheat, fruits and nuts also slumped in July. The overall export price index dropped 0.5 percent, the most since May 2017, the department said. The figures exclude the price effect from any tariffs.

China in July slapped 25 percent tariffs on American soybeans and also targeted other farm goods in retaliation for U.S. duties on a range of merchandise. The world’s biggest buyer of soybeans has shunned U.S. supplies amid the escalating trade conflict, threatening to curb exports after the harvest.

The report also showed that import prices were unchanged from the previous month, matching the median estimate of economists. Prices were up 4.8 percent from a year earlier, the biggest advance since 2012, driven by a 40.7 percent rise in fuel import prices.

— With assistance by Kristy Scheuble


Trump slammed California farmers with tariffs. Now he’s stiffing them on aid

August 10, 2018

Two Can Play at Trade War — Larger trade war will hurt American businesses, starting with farmers

April 3, 2018

The Wall Street Journal

China’s response to Trump’s tariffs hit innocent bystanders.

Duroc pigs feed on a small farm in Woodward, Iowa in 2014.
Duroc pigs feed on a small farm in Woodward, Iowa in 2014. PHOTO: JULIETTE MICHEL/AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE/GETTY IMAGES

Donald Trump hasn’t been talking about the rising stock market lately, and no wonder. Stocks have given up their earlier gains since the President unveiled his protectionist trade agenda, and the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell another 1.9% on Monday. Tech stocks took a particular beating as Nasdaq fell 2.74%, but the main policy concern is the new uncertainty from rising trade tension.

China slapped punitive tariffs on 128 categories of American goods on Monday in retaliation for the Trump Administration’s national-security levies on steel (25%) and aluminum (10%) imports last month. The Chinese response so far is measured, affecting $3 billion in annual trade or about 2% of U.S. goods exports to China, but it sends a pointed message that a larger trade war would hurt American businesses, farmers in particular.

American pork producers are the biggest targets in this retaliation, since they sold more than $1 billion in meat to China last year and will now face a 25% tariff. Demand for pork from countries such as Japan, South Korea and Mexico is growing, while exports to China fell by 11% in the past five years. That reflects a glut and falling prices in China. Hog farmers in states such as Iowa and Illinois should still reap an expected 5% growth in overall exports this year, but any growth in China will be filled by farmers in other countries.

Greater damage may come from China’s 15% tariff on American fruits, nuts and sparkling wine. Apple growers in Washington state only gained full access to the Chinese market in 2015 and have seen rapid growth in exports from zero three years ago. Sales of American wine to China, almost all from California, grew 10% last year to $197 million, still a small percentage of total production. Such industries now face headwinds to building market share.

California nut farmers are especially vulnerable since China is their largest export market. According to the Golden State’s agriculture department, they sold $530 million in pistachios and $518 million in almonds to China in 2016. For pistachio farmers, China accounts for 55% of total exports. Almond exports are down from five years ago because drought limited production, but sales to China rebounded 6% last year.

A Chinese medicinal root is one of the more obscure items on the 15% tariff list, and the impact will fall almost entirely on one county in central Wisconsin around the city of Wausau. Ginseng from Marathon County is highly prized in Asia, and about $30 million of it is exported annually to China.

Chinese ginseng farmers have been trying to supplant Wisconsin’s lucrative market niche for years, and now they have a chance. Republican Congressman Sean Duffy can thank the Trump Administration for this boost to his opponent’s November campaign.

China’s retaliation is best understood as an economic and political demonstration, hitting a small number of products to signal where future blows could fall if the Trump Administration imposes punitive tariffs on $60 billion in Chinese goods to punish the theft of intellectual property. It’s notable that both Republican-leaning and Democratic states were hit. Tariffs on America’s biggest exports to China, such as soybeans and Boeing aircraft, were held in reserve. But don’t be surprised if they’re on the list if the President imposes Section 301 tariffs as he has vowed to do.

The Trump Administration says it is using tariffs against China as bargaining chips to get a better deal for American exporters. And at least U.S. and Chinese officials are now talking about a new trade understanding. But in the meantime there will be significant collateral damage to innocent business bystanders, American consumers, and the overall U.S. economy.

Mr. Trump risks undermining the policy gains from tax reform and deregulation that have teed up the economy for faster growth. That’s the anxiety investors are showing as they sell stocks. Is anyone in the White House paying attention?

Appeared in the April 3, 2018, print edition.


 (Contains links to all our tariff and trade war articles)

Iran Land Route Delights Qataris; Irks Saudi Arabia

September 6, 2017
Wed Sep 6, 2017 8:28AM
This photo shows workers unloading cargo of fruits at a Qatari port.
This photo shows workers unloading cargo of fruits at a Qatari port.

A land route from Turkey to Qatar via Iran is now operational, with 200 trucks of food having already arrived in the Persian Gulf peninsula.

The trucks carrying milk, fruits, vegetables, grains and other food products made the journey from the Turkish city of Mardin to the Iranian port of Bushehr in the Persian Gulf from where they were carried by Ro-Ro ships to the Qatari port of Ruwais.

Qatar is under a blockade by Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt which cut trade and transport links with Doha in June in a diplomatic dispute which has exposed serious fissures in the Persian Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC).

Turkey and Iran were quick to ease the economic stranglehold on the tiny Arab nation, flying food and other commodities as the diplomatic fallout escalated, and then agreeing on a land route to export goods to Qatar.

The Doha-based Al Sharq newspaper quoted prominent Qatari businessman Ahmed al-Khalaf as saying that the new land trade line between Turkey and Qatar via Iran was reducing the cost of transportation drastically.

Meanwhile, the sea route between Turkey and Qatar initially took 11 days, while a separate land route took 14 days. The new commercial land line via Iran has shortened the duration to less than two days.

The distance between Mardin and Bushehr is about 1,700 km, which can be traveled by trucks in about 22 hours. The route by sea between Bushehr and Qatar’s Hamad Port takes just 8 hours to cover, where the wheeled cargo is carried by roll on/roll off ships.

This means a truck with Turkish goods can reach Doha via Iran in less than two days.

A long line of Turkish trucks are waiting on a road in the Iranian city of Maku in this file photo.

The Iran trade route is “a significant step in tackling the illegal blockade as less transportation time means perishable goods can be transported quickly without damage,” the Qatari daily The Peninsula wrote.

According to board member of Qatar Chamber Mohammed bin Mahdi Al Ahbabi, the new route via Iran has been reducing the cost of transportation by about 80 percent compared to air cargo.

“The cost of air freight is ranging between $1.2 and $1.5 per kilogram, while the cost of road transport (via Iran) is approximately 15 cents,” he said.

Trucks are parked at a terminal in the Iranian port of Bushehr in this file photo.

Iran’s network of road and rail lines

Chairman of Qatar Consume Ali Hassan Al Khalaf, who runs a chain of retail outlets across the country, said the new land route is going to be more sustainable and economically viable in the days to come.

“As more and more importers start using the route, the economies of scale will come into play, which will help further reduce the transportation cost,” he told the Qatari paper.

The businessmen touched on a wide network of road and rail lines which Iran has developed, saying other neighbors of the Islamic Republic such as Russia and Pakistan can also benefit from the new land route to export their goods to Qatar.

Before the diplomatic crisis, Qatar relied almost entirely on Saudi Arabia for imports. Ali Hassan Al Khalaf said unlike the Saudi land route, the Iran trade line will have lesser number of checkpoints, which will ensure a faster movement of trucks.

“This will not only save a lot of time and money, but goods will reach without losing much of their nutritional value.”


China’s stock market meltdown triggers panic — But India could emerge stronger

July 9, 2015

By Biswajit Baruah, ET Bureau | 9 Jul, 2015

MUMBAI: China’s seemingly inexorable stock market meltdown — shares plummeted to a three-month low prompting sweeping government intervention — saw Indian equities take a beating on Wednesday along with other Asian bourses. But the panic in Mumbai was an over-reaction, said analysts and traders, arguing that India has a good chance of emerging as one of the few viable alternative investment destinations.

On top of that, falling commodity prices will bolster corporate and government finances. That, however, wasn’t enough to brighten sentiment on the day as the China syndrome gripped markets, pushing concerns over Greece to the fringes. The BSE Sensex fell the most in a month, led by metal and automobile stocks, amid worries over demand slumping. Vedanta and Tata Motors BSE -1.73 % were among the worst hit — the first is India’s biggest copper producer and the second is dependent on a unit that sells a lot of cars in China.

The Sensex fell 1.72% to close at 27,687 points. The NSE Nifty declined 1.74% to end at 8,363 points, still above the crucial support level of 8,350. The crash followed the Sensex having risen about 7% from June lows. Vedanta fell 7.85% to Rs 146.10, its lowest in about two years.

Aluminium producer Hindalco fell 5.1% to Rs 101.75, while Tata SteelBSE -1.01 % dropped 4.7% to Rs 283.40. The S&P BSE Metal index slumped 3.9%. Tata Motors dropped 6.2%, the most in more than a year, to Rs 405.15. The company gets a substantial proportion of its earnings from the Jaguar Land Rover unit, which makes cars that sell well in China. The NSE India VIX volatility index rose 9% to 17.8, reflecting the mood across the global equity markets. But that kind of nervousness may not be j ..

China’s loss can be India’s gain: Modi must press the accelerator now

The crash in the Chinese stockmarket – a 30 percent fall in as many days – is yet another opportunity for India. This is because the resultant global fall in commodity prices will benefit us. We need to remember a simple law: as a huge net importer of goods and exporter of services, when global commodity prices fall, our gains exceed our losses.

Let’s look at the loses first – and weigh the gains. As global stocks fall, so will Indian indices. But our market decline will be shallower than that of the others, for we are fundamentally a domestic demand-driven consumption economy. The psychological impact of a global stock decline will wear off.

Secondly, as global commodities fall, our steel and ore companies will suffer. But we will gain hugely from oil prices – as we are doing from last September. Oil is our biggest import, and we import 80 percent of our oil. A drop in oil prices also improves our public finances – as we saw last year.



Theoretically, when Chinese stocks fall, investing in China should be more attractive than investing in India. But two differences make India a better hold if not buy. First, India is far better regulated than China, where the role of the government is simply too strong. This means fair prices of stocks in China are tougher to determine than in India.

Second, ownership of stocks is significantly different. In China, individual investors apparently own 80 percent of stocks. In India, individual stock ownership is low and foreign and domestic institutional ownership is very high. This makes the wealth effect of a loss in stock values less important in India. In China, a stock market crash will dent purchasing power significantly as individual investors will bear the brunt of this loss. A stock crash has implications for consumption in China.

While a slowing China is bad news for global growth, it is not so bad news for India. Just as the one-eyed have an advantage in a land of the blind, Indian suffers less when the world is slowing down.

History tells us why.

In 2008, when the Lehman crisis sent the global economy – and commodities – crashing, after a brief blip, India recovered quickly. Inflation, which was rising towards 13 percent in 2008 crashed to a negative level a year later.

It required serious economic mismanagement by the UPA to ruin things again. This they did by letting oil subsidies run riot, ensuring a fiscal crisis that sent inflation soaring again, with the current account deficit hitting new highs. The rupee almost hit 70 to the US dollar in 2013.

Last year, too, as Europe went into a tailspin and global oil crashed, Indian inflation crashed. The consumer price index is at manageable levels around 5 percent, and the wholesale prices index has been in negative territory for seven months in a row.

The NDA is also managing the economy better by keeping minimum support price increases reasonable and by timely releases of food stocks whenever food inflation threatens to rise sharply. The future of Indian food inflation depends on how we manage protein inflation – the prices of milk, eggs and meat, pulses, and fruits and vegetables.

On oil, the NDA has already decontrolled diesel, but LPG decontrol needs to happen quickly – especially with the direct cash transfer scheme now in place. Kerosene should be the next target for subsidy reform and decontrol, but the Modi government has been dilly-dallying on LPG decontrol for too long. This is the best time for this reform, not after the Bihar elections, which now look very tough for the BJP after the Vyapam scam.

When the world slows, India can do better if it gets the domestic act right. This is the time to press the accelerator on public investment, recapitalise banks quickly, and speed up deregulation that does not need legislation. It is a pity that land and labour reforms are mired in politics, but even without these changes, the Modi government can improve growth by better management of the macroeconomy and boosting public investment. Lower interest rates will be a bonus, but not vital to set off the virtuous cycle of growth without inflation.

A stock market revival will happen as we head towards the festival season, making it easier for companies and the government to access capital and clean up their balance-sheets.

Modi must go for it. He has to forget the politics of gloom and step on the gas. The time is now.

South China Sea: Vietnam, Myanmar talk strengthening ties

March 12, 2015

Myanmar continually looks to foster cooperation with Vietnam, especially within the ASEAN framework, affirmed Myanmar leaders.

Meeting Vice President Nguyen Thi Doan in the capital city of Naypyidaw on March 11 immediately after the welcome ceremony, Myanmar President Thein Sein noted that the visit would intensify bilateral coordination in celebration of the 40th anniversary of diplomatic ties this year.

Doan, in return, clarified that Vietnam expects a stable and long-term friendship and all-around engagement with Myanmar.

During talks with her counterpart, Nyan Tun, on the same day, the Vietnamese Vice President asked for the Myanmar government’s support for Vietnamese firms active in the 12 priority fields mentioned in the Vietnam-Myanmar joint statement signed in April 2010, as well as accelerating the licensing of Vietnamese projects in Myanmar.

After doubling the value of trade after two years to reach 475 million USD in 2014, the two sides discussed initiatives to enhance joint efforts, including facilitating high-level visits, realising bilateral cooperation mechanisms, boosting economic-trade-investment activities to bring two-way trade value to over 500 million USD this year, and expanding collaboration in agro-forestry-fisheries, finance-banking, telecommunications, transport, oil and gas, and tourism, among others.

The host agreed to consider allowing the Bank for the Investment and Development of Vietnam to open a branch in Myanmar, the Vietnam National Oil and Gas Group to expand oil and gas exploration, and the military-run telecom provider Viettel to set up a joint venture with Yantanarporn Teleport of Myanmar.

The officials also committed to establishing a Myanmar-Vietnam Friendship Association.

The Myanmar side called for coordination across rubber and food production and export, including rice, seafood, vegetables and fruits.

The host also took the occasion to call for Vietnamese investment in three newly-established exclusive economic zones.

The two sides pledged to work closely at regional and global forums, especially the sub-regional mechanisms like the Ayeyawady-Chao Phraya-Mekong Economic Cooperation, the Cambodia-Laos-Myanmar-Vietnam Ministerial Summit, and the East-West Economic Corridor.

Simultaneously, the two countries vowed to partner with other ASEAN members to ensure solidarity, uphold the ASEAN’s central role in the evolving regional structure, maintain peace and solidarity in the East Sea, and materialise the ASEAN Community in late 2015.–myanmar-talk-strengthening-ties.html

Vietnam becomes biggest ASEAN supplier to US — Boasts best quality workers at lowest price

November 3, 2014
The American Chamber of Commerce (AmCham) expects Vietnam’s export to the US to hit around US$29.4 billion by the end of 2014–making Vietnam the top Southeast Asian supplier to its former foe for the first time in its history.
AmCham predicts bilateral trade will continue to surge to $57 billion in 2020, leaving other Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) member states far behind, Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper reported.
Vietnam exported around $800 million to the US in 2000, which means the country will have increased trade nearly 36-fold in 14 years.
In the big picture, Vietnam has gone from representing 1 to 22 percent of ASEAN’s trade with the US since 2000, beating out Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia, Tuoi Tre reported recently, citing AmCham.
AmCham said Vietnam’s export to the US will account to 34.1 percent of the bloc’s total exports by 2020.
Busy meeting high orders
Workers at Hugo Import Export Company in Ho Chi Minh City say they worked practically round the clock this month–a time they describe  as peak season for dragon fruit exports.
Dragon fruit
They’re hoping to ship 80 tons to the US in November, up from 20-30 tons in previous months.
Vuong Dinh Khoat, general director of Hugo, told Tuoi Tre: “We plan to export a total of 400 tons of dragon fruit to the US this year, up 50 tons from last year.”
Business insiders said dragon fruit exports to the US will rise to around 2,000 tons this year from 1,300 tons in 2013.
Nguyen Huu Dat, a plant quarantine official, said Vietnam exported $41.5 million worth of fruit and vegetables to the US during the first nine months of this year–“up an impressive 12 percent year-on-year.”
The US has also begun importing Vietnamese longans and lychee.
Seafood exports to the US reached roughly $1.3 billion in the first nine months of this year, making the US Vietnam’s biggest customer.
Tran Thien Hai, chairman of the Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Processors, said shrimp exports to the US have increased 51.2 percent year-on-year to $820 million. Vietnam is the third-largest shrimp supplier to the US, after Indonesia and India.
Hai said the US began buying more from Vietnam after Thai farms were stricken by a series of diseases.
Garment boom
The most significant growth, according to AmCham, has occurred in the garment and textile sector.
Vietnam’s garment exports rose 14.85 percent in value between last September and this August making it the second-largest clothing exporter to the US after China.
Garments, footwear and woodwork exporters say they’re busy with orders until the end of the year, or even next year if manufacturers continue to pivot from China to Vietnam.
Nguyen Van Le, deputy general director of Dong Hung Company in Binh Duong Province , said they have exported 1.78 million pairs of shoes worth around $34 million to the US this year, which accounts to nearly 28 percent of the company’s total export revenue.
“They’ve increased orders but also added complicated demands for their orders, so the pressure is on,” Le said.
Pham Phu Cuong, chairman of the Nha Be Garment Corporation said 35-40 percent of their export revenues come from the US.
“This is a big market. But they always place big orders, which force you to organize your production professionally.”
Even small companies see big potential.
The Vinh Thong Commerce and Manufacturing Company in HCMC exported 5,000 pairs of shoes worth $175,000 to the US this year, but expects to receive orders hundreds of times larger if “our negotiations work out well,” Nguyen Van Duc from the company’s management board said.
Workers at Dong Hung’s shoe manufacturer and exporter to the US in Binh Duong Province. Photo: Tien Long/Tuoi Tre
“We have identified the US a potential market,” Duc said.
Before signing up as a supplier for the US, the company sent two of its employees to study fashion design in Italy.
They also set up a representative office in the US to catch up with local trends and invested hundreds of thousands of dollars in machinery and equipment.
“We even designed our own advertisements. We understand that we won’t be able to compete with China without demonstrating a unique style,” Duc said.
TPP, China
Diep Thanh Kiet, vice chairman of the Vietnam Leather, Footwear and Handbag Association, said the US is turning to Vietnam for two major reasons.
The first is the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement that is expected to cut US tariffs on most products produced in Vietnam and the other is that China is becoming a less competitive supplier.
Wages in China are much higher than Vietnam, in the footwear sector, while Vietnamese workers are just as skillful, Kiet said.
“Vietnam is developing a reputation as the place where production costs the least,” he said.

Government Audit: Healthy Meals in School Lunches Rejected By Kids

February 28, 2014

Second-grader Jonathan Cheng (center) looks at fruits and vegetables during a school lunch at Fairmeadow Elementary School in Palo Alto, Calif., on Dec. 2, 2010. (Associated Press)

By Stephan Dinan
The Washington Times

The federal government’s changes to school lunch menus have been disastrous, causing problems for cafeterias trying to comply with the rules and leaving the menu so expensive or unpalatable that more than 1 million students have stopped buying lunch, according to a government audit released Thursday.

One school district told federal investigators that it had to add unhealthy pudding and potato chips to its menu to meet the government’s minimum calorie requirements. Other school districts removed peanut butter and jelly sandwiches from their elementary school menus.

Five of the eight school districts surveyed by the Government Accountability Office, the official watchdog for Congress, said they believed students were going hungry because of smaller entree portions demanded by the rules.

Cafeterias regularly reported finding fruits and vegetables, which they are required to serve, ending up in trash cans. Although no studies have been completed, the government has found an increase in what it calls plate waste in some districts.

Despite the hiccups, school food authorities said they generally support the nutritional changes and think the menus are moving in the right direction.

“Although school lunch participation has declined, it is likely that participation will improve over time as students adjust to the lunch changes,” GAO investigators said.

“Five of the districts we visited reported that, if the past is an indicator, participation will improve over time as students adjust to the new food items, and three noted the importance of nutrition education for students and parents to help make the transition to healthier school meals more successful,” they said.

Neither the Agriculture Department, which wrote the rules, nor the office of first lady Michelle Obama, who has made school nutrition a priority, responded to messages seeking comment on the report.

GAO investigators said Agriculture Department officials generally agreed with the report’s recommendations, though the two sides disagreed on whether the department is able to properly monitor whether districts are complying with the rules.

Lunch trays are required to have at least a half-cup of fruits or vegetables, and milk must contain no more than 1 percent fat. The rules also ban trans fats and set higher minimum calorie levels for each student meal.

After the standards went into effect in the 2012-13 school year, the GAO said, the number of students buying school lunches — which had been on a steady increase — dropped by a total of 1.2 million students.

GAO investigators talked with students and found that some ended up buying food from vending machines or from a la carte lines in the cafeteria, or went off campus to eat.

One of the school districts that investigators analyzed said it stopped allowing students to eat off campus.

“With a closed campus policy, students are required to stay on the school campus during the lunch period, which increases the likelihood that they will participate in the school lunch program,” investigators concluded.

GAO investigators said 321 school districts dropped out of the school lunch program altogether in the previous year, and many did so to avoid the mandates.

“Some of the stuff we had to offer, they wouldn’t eat,” Superintendent Gary Lewis in Catlin, Ill., told The Associated Press last year. “So you sit there and watch the kids, and you know they’re hungry at the end of the day, and that led to some behavior and some lack of attentiveness.”

Investigators said schools reported a number of problems implementing the standards. Some districts said switching from canned to fresh produce meant they had to have more frequent shipments — and that meant an increased likelihood of workplace injuries because of extra unloading and lifting.

“Staff in one [school food authority] noted that the increased amount of time and effort to prepare fruits and vegetables also led to morale issues when staff saw students throw the fruits and vegetables in the trash,” the investigators said.

Some schools also said they had to buy spoons and ladles to adjust to the new portion sizes.

The GAO said the eight districts it visited were Caddo Parish Public Schools in Louisiana, Carlisle Area School District in Pennsylvania, Chicago Public Schools, Coeur d’Alene School District in Idaho, Irving Independent School District in Texas, Mukwonago Area School District in Wisconsin, Spokane Public Schools in Washington, and Fairfax County Public Schools in Virginia.

The report didn’t specify which district added pudding and potato chips to its menu to meet calorie guidelines.


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Vietnamese Refuse Fruits, Vegetables From China Fearing Toxic Food; But Sometimes They Boycott Farm Produce from VN by Mistake

June 6, 2013

VietNamNet Bridge – Being watchful over Chinese toxic goods, Vietnamese consumers have turned their back to many kinds of farm produce. As a result, real Vietnamese farm produce have been unsalable.

Gourds and pumpkins, the antipyretic vegetables favored by Vietnamese housewives on hot summer days, have been selling very slowly.

Though the selling prices of the vegetables have decreased sharply, they remain unsalable, because consumers fear these could be sourced from China. Since it’s very difficult for consumers to tell the difference between Chinese and Vietnamese products, they would rather not to buy these vegetables.

The “invasion” of Chinese products to Vietnam has been step by step killing the domestic agriculture production, not because the products are more competitive than domestic products, but because Chinese products have disseminated the fear among Vietnamese consumers.

Vietnamese fruits unsalable because they are dirt cheap

Watermelons have been available everywhere in Hanoi, from the pavement kiosks to fruit shops, from traditional markets to modern supermarkets. The sellers said they have to ease the selling prices sharply, but the sale still has been going very slowly.

“Consumers think these are Chinese watermelons, therefore, they refuse to buy the fruits,” a seller on Nguyen Trai street said.

The merchants at traditional markets also complain that pumpkins cannot be sold, though the selling price is “next to nothing”, also because Vietnamese fear the pumpkins are from China. In their thoughts, Chinese goods mean toxic and low quality products.

Nguyen Thi Giang in Cau Giay district said she never buys the fruits or vegetables displayed on the pavements. “They (the sellers) are very artful. They swear their products are Vietnamese, but in fact, the products are Chinese. I will not pay money for Chinese goods, even though they are very cheap,” Giang said.

Dinh Thi Anh Tuyet, 65, on Ho Tung Mau Street, also said she does not care about the products sold on the pavement, because the majority of the products are Chinese. “You will have to pay a heavy price if you buy Chinese goods,” she warned.

Thuong, a small merchant at the Dich Vong Market, complained that Vietnamese housewives try to cut down the amounts of vegetables and fruits they use everyday just because of the fear for Chinese goods.

“They (the customers) always ask if the produce is from China. And they don’t believe me if I say these are grown by Vietnamese farmers,” she said.

Chinese imports make Vietnamese agriculture suffer

Vietnamese farmers have been in distress because their farm produce have been unsalable, though they have to sell produce at a loss.

Gourd prices have decreased by VND2,000  per kilo, while pumpkin prices by VND3,000. Lemon now sells at VND25,000 per kilo, a sharp reduction of VND10,000 per kilo. Meanwhile, the prices of some popular fruits have been halved in comparison with earlier this summer.

Nguyen Thi Trang, who grows pumpkins on 5 sao (one sao = 360 square meters) of land in Vinh Phuc province, said with the production cost of VND2 million for a sao of pumpkin and gourd, and the selling price of VND1,500 per kilo, farmers cannot make profit.


Facing and Fighting Obesity

August 6, 2012

ANNISTON, Ala. (AP) — Gabriel Omans wants to run faster, play harder, make the teammates in his youth baseball league proud. The 8-year-old Anniston boy has high hopes for next season: racing around the bases, running faster than people who used to leave him in the dust.

But at 4-foot-4 and 130 pounds, Gabriel is obese. His weight slows him down, his mother Lisa Omans says. It keeps him from running fast, Gabriel says.


“It keeps him back . and I know it’s not healthy for him,” Lisa Omans, 47, said as she and Gabriel sat in the living room of their Anniston trailer on a recent morning. “But he’ll eat and 10 minutes later, he’s like, ‘I’m hungry! I’m hungry!'”

It’s a struggle for Omans — trying keep the pounds off her son. But she’s hoping that an Anniston pediatrician’s plans for a local children’s obesity clinic will help Gabriel get back to a healthier weight — and help her learn techniques for keeping Gabriel fit in the process.

“I would love for my baseball players to see me be skinnier than last year,” Gabriel agreed. “I would like to be shortstop.”

Gabriel’s pediatrician, Dr. Lewis Doggett, has for years wanted to open a clinic to address the growing problem of childhood and teenage obesity in the Calhoun County area. Now, with the support of other doctors in his practice, Anniston Pediatrics, and nurse practitioner Linda White, it finally looks like the clinic will become a reality. Doggett hopes to get the clinic up and running by the end of the summer.

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School Lunches are Healthier These days

August 6, 2012, by Maureen Downey

The AJC has a good story today about the ongoing evolution of school lunches, an issue that has gained more attention due to the First Lady’s commitment to ending childhood obesity.

Among the changes: More focus on the presentation of meals and more effort to cajole students into eating more fruits and veggies. Gwinnett has had luck with a salad of watermelon, cucumber, orange and mint but not with a watermelon, feta cheese and basil salad. (I have been finding the latter at potlucks this summer. I don’t like it, either, but everyone else does.)

In prior blogs, we have discussed whether schools can serve as ground zero for combating the childhood obesity epidemic in this country. Schools can’t control how students eat once the dismissal bell rings. I often see middle and high school students going straight from school to either Starbuck’s or Dairy Queen. Regardless of which, most kids walk out with frothy, calorie-laden drinks.

I also think that chips — considered party food when I was growing up — are now a staple of children’s diets. I was paying for gas this weekend at a convenience store in north Georgia and

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Obesity crisis in East Lancashire

Photograph of the Author

By Catherine Pye, Health reporter

Monday 6th August 2012 (Telegraph – UK)

MORE than one in five adults are classed as officially obese in parts of East Lancashire, double the national average, new figures revealed today.

In total 53,600 adults in the area, around 12 per cent, are on the Obesity Register, which records GP patients with a BMI greater than or equal to 30 in the previous 15 months.

But in some towns the number soars to over 21 per cent, twice the national average of 10.5 per cent.

And experts fear the true problem may be even worse, as some obese people do not regularly visit their GP.

The news comes as major initiatives to get people involved in sport are launched on the back Team GB’s Olympic success.

In some parts of East Lancashire, one in five people are overweight

Above: In some parts of East Lancashire, one in five people are overweight

County Councillor Mohammed Iqbal, who sits on the health scrutiny committee for Lancashire, and represents Nelson, where the Reedyford Health Care Group topped the obesity chart, said the problem was down to deprivation.

He said: “The current recession is biting East Lancashire very hard, and there is a clear link between health and poverty. At the moment, people can’t afford to eat healthily.”

Read the rest from the Telegraph (UK):