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Viet Nam plans rice branding initiative

Update: May, 10/2012 - 10:53


Farmers load rice at the Thanh Binh Agriculture Processing Centre in the southern province of Dong Thap. The country wants to develop an internationally recognised brand for Vietnamese rice. — VNA/VNS Photo Dinh Hue
HCM CITY — The Ministry of Industry and Trade and the Viet Nam Food Association want to develop an internationally recognised brand for Vietnamese rice by choosing and cultivating several high quality varieties.

Towards this, they are planning a project that will provide several incentives for farmers to cultivate these varieties, including offering 100 per cent insurance coverage for their rice fields, according to a report carried by the Sai Gon Giai Phong (Liberated Sai Gon) newspaper yesterday.

Businesses participating in the project will also receive support from the Government in terms of access to capital and advanced technology, the report said.

It cited Bui Ba Bong, Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, as saying these were among measures that would help industrialise the rice production value chain in the country and create a national brand.

Along with brand development, research must be carried out into developing new, high quality varieties of rice, said Duong Van Chin, deputy director of the Cuu Long (Mekong) Delta Rice Research Institute.

More than 200 rice varieties have been created and recognised by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development so far, Chin said.

High-quality varieties

The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development has asked farmers around the country to strictly follow its instructions on what rice varieties to grow in the summer-autumn crop to avoid a repeat of the winter-spring crop when a large proportion of low-quality varieties was grown.

Nguyen Tri Ngoc, the head of the ministry's Plant Cultivation Department, said low-quantity strains like IR50404 must be planted on less than 20 per cent of the total area.

The ministry has instructed localities that grew large quantities of the admittedly high-yield IR 50404 to switch to high-quality varieties, he said.

It accounted for 27.6 per cent of the last crop in the Cuu Long (Mekong) Delta, known as the country's rice granary.

In Dong Thap Province the number was 52 per cent.

The ministry has classified rice cultivation into three groups.

The first, consisting of low – and medium-quality strains with short grains like the IR 50404 and OM 576, should be planted on less than 20 per cent of the area.

The second group – high-quality, long-grained rice – should account for 60-70 per cent, while the last, made up of fragrant varieties, should account for the rest.

Harvest completed

The southern region has more or less completed harvesting the winter-spring, according to the ministry, and output is estimated at 11.5 million tonnes, 1 million tonnes higher than a year ago.

The average yield was 6.67 tonnes per ha, an increase of two tonnes.

In the delta, the average yield has been 6.83 tonnes, though An Giang and Dong Thap Provinces and Can Tho reported 7.35-7.4 tonnes.

But in Dong Thap, farmers only managed to earn a profit of 20 per cent because of the high input costs, according to the province People's Committee.

To ensure farmers can sell their paddy, Deputy Prime Minister Vu Van Ninh has ordered the agriculture ministry to survey the quantity they have in stock.

Based on the survey result, the ministry will decide how much to buy to ensure the price of the grain remains stable and farmers earn profits.

Viet Nam has 33 million ha of arable land, of which 7.5 million ha are under rice cultivation.

With 3.9 million ha of paddy fields, the Cuu Long (Mekong) Delta is Viet Nam's largest rice producing region, accounting for more than 90 per cent of the country's total rice export volume.

The country exported 3.5 million tonnes of rice in 2000, 6.75 million tonnes in 2010 and almost topped 7 million tonnes last year. — VNS

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