CAN THO (VNS) — The country urgently needed to build a national rice trademark, Duong Quoc Xuan, Deputy Head of the Steering Committee for the Southwestern Region (SCSR), told a conference on Thursday in the Mekong Delta city of Can Tho.
Although Viet Nam was the second-largest rice exporter in the world, the value of its rice was too low, he said. The Mekong Delta, the country's "rice bowl," lacked investment in rice development and many localities in the region had not fully tapped their potential.
In recent years, the Mekong River Delta region has spared no efforts to attract investment in the field of rice production. Many international organisations and foreign investors have also been upsizing the production model.
However, to date these have just been pilot programmes and have had no real world impact on rice production in Vietnam.
Vice Chairman of the Can Tho People's Committee Dao Anh Dung said it was necessary for the region to increase both productivity and quality, pointing out that local people remained poor although they contributed 90 per cent of the country's rice export volume.
Problems facing domestic rice producers included the lack of high-quality rice varieties, high post-harvest losses and poor regional connectivity, as well as a lack of collaboration between the government, scientists, businesses and farmers, experts said.
They added that at present, some nations – India, Pakistan and the US – had pursued rather aggressive policies to boost rice production and exports and as a result had become tough competitors for Viet Nam.
They recommended using advanced technologies to find high-yield and high-quality varieties that could resist diseases and adapt to climate change.
Duong Quoc Xuan, deputy head of the Steering Committee for the Southwest region stressed the need to devise a zoning plan for rice production, organise a purchasing and reserve system and focus on building national brand names.
On a more positive note, the Viet Nam Southern Food Corporation and Mekong Delta Rice Research Institute signed a cooperative agreement to research rice varieties, which would lay a solid foundation for producing quality rice in vast quantities. — VNS