HA NOI — The agricultural sector aimed to improve the value of rice as production of this key crop would face several difficulties this year, said the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.
|Farmers use a combine havester to gather rice in Lien Hong Commune, Gia Loc District, Hai Duong Province. Limited farm land and a growing population are creating a need for more efficient production. — VNA/VNS Photo Minh Dong
This year would be a hard year for rice production due to impacts from climate change, limited farming land and a growing population, said Nguyen Tri Ngoc, head of the Plantation Department.
In response, the department set a target to export 6.8 million tonnes of rice while also improving its quality, Ngoc said.
Until 2016, the ministry would continue to invest in projects that research and create new rice varieties with high yields, better quality and are adaptable to changes in the weather, he said.
The ministry will also develop a trademark for rice exports, including organisation of large rice fields as samples and production under GAP standards, to increase competitiveness on the world markets, especially the US and the European Union markets. The ministry expects to increase the volume of rice exports to both markets in the next five years.
The rice production sector has plans to develop technologies for post-harvest processes and standards for grinding factories and storehouses. It also intends to establish a rice purchasing system and will encourage rice purchasing contracts between export rice processors and farmers.
Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development statistics show that Viet Nam exported 400,000 tonnes of rice worth US$240 million in January, a decrease of 25.4 per cent in quantity, but only 14.2 per cent in value against the same period last year.
In December, the Viet Nam Food Association (VFA) announced that Viet Nam rice producers had fewer export purchasing contracts for the first quarter of this year compared with the same period last year. The country's rice exports are expected to reach about 1.1 million tonnes in the first quarter this year, 700,000 tonnes less than last year's figures.
Viet Nam's 25 per cent broken grain rice faces tough competition from India, Myanmar and Pakistan, and may lose up to 20 per cent of its market share in Africa. In 2011, Viet Nam's low quality rice exports decreased by 61 per cent while five per cent broken grain and fragrant rice increased by 5 per cent and over 100 per cent respectively. — VNS