On April 7, 2020, the Thai government issued its third stimulus package worth 1.9 trillion baht (US$58 billion) to mitigate the economic impact caused by the COVID-19 outbreak.

This latest package, named Phase 3, is equivalent to 10 percent of GDP. 1 trillion baht (US$30 billion) was provided through bond issuance and 900 billion baht (US$27.8 billion) from the central bank, Bank of Thailand (BOT).

Source: ASEAN Briefing

Vert LTD is a horticultural company based in Machakos, Kenya that specializes in growing and exporting fresh produce specifically for the European market. The company sells fine vegetables (French beans, snow peas, sugar snaps) to the EU market. In addition, they have started to process mangoes into pulp for national and regional markets since last year.

Jane gives us an update on the current market situation for its fine vegetables.

From a logistical perspective, there is a significant capacity shortfall due to the high number of cancelled flights (passenger flights), while freight costs have increased for the remaining cargo capacity. Only Saudia Charter is taking produce from JKIA to Amsterdam, where shipments are then trucked to various destinations in Europe. Moreover, road transport within the EU (e.g. from Amsterdam to Belgium or Scandinavia) has become more complicated due to the availability of trucks and border controls.

At the market level, Jane noticed a reduction in demand in the EU because her customers in Denmark, Germany and Norway were selling mainly to wholesalers, restaurants and caterers. Only two customers out of the nine continue to buy fresh produce from her. One of them is Starfruit, which supplies Delhaize in Belgium. In this period, the company has an estimated demand of 1.5 tons per day (9 to 10.5 tons/week). This demand has been reduced over the last three weeks to 1.2 tons for 4 to 5 days/week, hence a total of 4.8 to 6 tons/week, i.e. 47% reduction. Moreover, the company will miss out on the run up to Easter, traditionally a period of high demand for Kenya’s fine vegetables for which growers planted several weeks ago.

In terms of employment, the company has a high rate of permanent staff, that is only topped up with casual laborers during peak periods. Jane is reviewing the company’s contingency planning on a weekly basis. This Monday, the company has already had to lay off 7 people, including the newly recruited general manager (who had been working for the company since last summer). About 50% of the permanent staff is encouraged to take paid holidays.

In the wake of supply chain disruptions due to coronavirus, several experts have reiterated the need to obtain more visibility across the chain. Companies who sell finished goods generally know production and shipment schedules for their Tier 1 suppliers, but they usually have little to no knowledge of suppliers further up the chain.

SOURCE: Rebecca Liao Co-Founder and Executive Vice-President, SKUChain Ziyang Fan Head of Digital Trade, World Economic Forum LLC

The COVID-19 pandemic, caused by the novel coronavirus, has disrupted almost all global sectors, but none more so than trucking and logistics. E-logistics startup Kobo360 had to go back to the drawing board, according to Obi Ozor, Group CEO and co-founder

SOURCE: African business magazine

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Nestle (NESN.S), the world’s biggest food company, said it would pay full salaries for at least three months to employees affected by work stoppages to prevent the spread of coronavirus

The move will cover both part-time and salaried employees as well as those working in its retail operations – the Kit Kat Chocolatory and Nespresso boutiques – which have been temporarily closed in some places, the company said in a statement.

The Nescafe coffee maker, which has 291,000 employees across the world, also said it would provide cash advances or loans to those in financial difficulties, and that it had put in place generous sick leave arrangements for employees who may have contracted the virus.

For Canada, specifically, the Swiss company said it was temporarily raising wages by C$3 per hour for on-duty factory and distribution center workers, retroactive to March 16, 2020.

It will also pay bonuses to salaried employees of its Canadian factories who cannot work from home.

The company also updated its pay policies for its Canadian hourly and full-time workers hurt by work stoppages, saying that it would cover pay for three months, in line with its global policy, instead of the two months announced earlier.

“The COVID-19 pandemic is a global problem and consequently we are offering help on the ground everywhere,” Nestle Chief Executive Officer Mark Schneider said in a statement.

On Monday, Schneider sent a memo to employees asking them to prepare for the pandemic “storm” that will hit its business.”Please get ready for the storm to hit – because hit it will,” Schneider wrote in the memo.On Thursday, the company said it was working hard to ensure supplies were maintained and assured customers that it would be able to deliver products to meet the global demand for food, as people stay at home for an extended period of time.

A number of companies are rolling out relief measures for their employees suffering from a financial strain due to the coronavirus outbreak.

Nestle rival Unilever (ULVR.L) said on Wednesday it would pay part-time workers for up to three months and accelerate payments for small and mid-sized suppliers to provide relief during the outbreak, which has shut businesses and caused stock market turmoil globally.

Nestle said it was also partnering with Red Cross to provide the humanitarian agency with supplies and transportation, and was donating 10 million Swiss francs, food, water and medical nutrition products to those most affected by the pandemic.

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“ADM is committed to doing our part not only to keep our colleagues and their families safe, but also to support the hundreds of global communities where we live and work,” said Juan Luciano, chairman and chief executive officer (CEO) of ADM. “We appreciate the hard work of the medical professionals, first responders and government and community leaders on the front line during this difficult time.”

SOURCE: Holly Demaree-Saddler

As the Covid-19 crisis spreads to new epicenters in Europe and the U.S., companies are scrambling to mobilize responses. There are no easy answers, due to the unpredictability of disease dynamics, a lack of relevant prior experience, and the absence of plug-and-play instructions from government or international authorities.

SOURCE: Martin Reeves , Lars Fæste , Cinthia Chen , Philipp Carlsson-Szlezak and Kevin Whitaker