Rice prices rise, but only after farmers sell
CUU LONG DELTA (VNS) — Many farmers are ruing the fact that they have no more paddy to sell when prices have risen sharply in the Cuu Long (Mekong) Delta region.
|Farmers harvest their crop. Rice has been fetching high prices in the past two weeks, though many farmers have already sold their stocks of grain from the recent harvest. — VNA/VNS Photo Tran Le Lam
On September 20, the low-quality IR 50404 paddy sold for VND5,200 to VND5,300 per kg after it was harvested from fields in the Cuu Long (Mekong) Delta provinces of An Giang and Dong Thap, an increase of VND500 to VND550 per kg compared with a month earlier.
Dried IR 50404 sold for VND5,700 to VND5,800 per kg, and dried high-quality long grain paddy for VND5,900 to VND6,100 per kg.
Rice to be processed for export was sold in Thot Not (Can Tho City), Sa Dec (Dong Thap Province) and Cai Be (Tien Giang Province) for VND7,700 to VND7,900 per kg.
Ngo Van Thom, who cultivated the IR 50404 variety on 2.6 ha in Can Tho's Co Do District, said he had sold all of his paddy from the last summer-autumn after harvesting it early in August for just VND3,900 to VND4,000 per kg.
"I was not happy to hear that traders were purchasing paddy from the ongoing autumn-winter crop for VND5,100 to VND5,300 per kg," said Thom.
"I hope that I can sell my autumn-winter paddy at higher prices when it is harvested in two to three weeks."
Cuu Long (Mekong) Delta provinces have some 680,000ha under cultivation for this year's autumn-winter rice crop, compared with over 1.6 million ha for the summer-autumn crop that ended a couple of weeks ago.
Dong Thap and An Giang have the largest areas under the autumn-winter rice crop, totalling 260,000 ha.Duong Nghia Quoc, director of the Dong Thap Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, said paddy prices have risen sharply these days, but most farmers in the southern province have no stock to sell.
He said Dong Thap has over 80,000ha under the autumn-winter rice crop, and some 10,000ha have been harvested in the past week with an average yield of 5.5 to 5.8 tonnes of paddy per hectare.
"At current [paddy] prices, farmers can get profits of VND15 to VND20 million, or 30 per cent of production costs, on each ha under the autumn-winter crop," said Quoc.
In Tien Giang Province, with an average yield of 5.5 to 6 tonnes of paddy per ha, farmers can earn profits of VND17 to VND19 million per ha, double that of the last summer-autumn crop, local officials said.
The manager of a rice-exporting firm in An Giang Province, who declined to be named, said the current paddy/rice prices were favourable for farmers.
However, the total output of this autumn-winter crop, about three million tonnes of rice in the Cuu Long (Mekong) Delta, was not a great quantity for regional rice markets, he said.
Paddy/rice prices were on the rise because a number of rice exporters plan to increase their reserves, he added.
According to the Viet Nam Food Association, rice exports rose from 5.1 million tonnes in the first eight months of 2012 to 5.2 million tonnes on September 10, for an export turnover of US$2.3 billion.
In the first eight months, Vietnamese exporters had won contracts to export 6.8 million tonnes of rice in 2012, up 30 per cent over the same period last year. — VNS