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Morning round-up, Tuesday August 18 2020

  • Palm oil producers in Malaysia, the world’s second-largest palm oil producer, are starting to rethink their reliance on foreign labour, as the pandemic creates shortages on estates, which is delaying the Malaysian harvest. Reuters reported that companies are working on a rare local recruitment drive and trying to ramp up industry mechanization as the September-November peak production season approaches. Already, travel restrictions have created a shortage of 37,000 workers, which is nearly 10% of the workforce.

  • China banned imports of chicken from Brazil’s third largest chicken and pork processor, Central Cooperative Aurora Alimentos, citing coronavirus concerns. The ban’s confirmation came the same day the privately owned company agreed to test 11,000 of its workers for coronavirus at four of its plants.

  • Protesters in Brazil were ordered to clear a main route for exporting grains from Mato Grosso state to northern ports, according to Reuters. Members of the Kayapó indigenous tribe had blocked the route in protest against lack of government protection from the coronavirus pandemic. Brazil grain trucks had to pause their journey because of the demonstrations.

  • The US Department of Agriculture said it will collect updated Iowa corn and soybean data after it was hit by a "derecho" storm. The agency had projected a harvest of 13.500m acres of corn and 9.320m acres of soybeans earlier this month.

  • Robusta coffee prices fell at the Cameroon port of Douala, according to the country’s National Cocoa and Coffee Board. A kilogramme sold at the port for 722 Central African francs ($1.30), down from 735 Central African francs a week earlier.

  • Cocoa prices continue to steadily rise at Cameroon’s chief port of Douala, according to the National Cocoa and Coffee Board. A kilogramme of cocoa beans sold at the port for 1,138 Central African francs ($2.05), up 1.06% from 1,126 Central African francs the previous week.
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