AN GIANG — One of the three biggest rice-husking factories in the Mekong (Cuu Long) Delta was put into use last weekend.
The VND212-billion (US$10 million) Thoai Son Rice Husking Factory in An Giang Province's Thoai Son District was built on 8.2ha, according to the investor, An Giang Plant Protection Joint Stock Company.
In order to have enough paddy for the new factory, a field of 2,500ha is being used in the district. Most of the cultivated paddy will be planted with Jasmine 85 rice strain.
Contracts with local farmers were made for the winter-spring crop. The company will offer Jasmine rice strains, fertilisers and pesticides at lower prices than the market.
Shortly before the inauguration of the Thoai Son paddy husking factory, the Vinh Binh Factory in An Giang Province's Chau Thanh District and Tan Hong Factory in Dong Thap Province were opened in February.
Each of the three factories has a drying capacity of 500 tonnes paddy a day and an annual processing capacity of 200,000 tonnes.
Another factory, Vinh Hung, was designed with the same capacity and will be operating soon in Long An Province's Vinh Hung District.
The new factories have contributed to enhancing the quality of rice produced in the delta and the living conditions of farmers in the region.
The Cuu Long (Mekong) Delta is considered the country's rice granary. Last year, the country exported seven million tonnes of rice, of which the delta exported more than four tonnes.
The delta has set an export target of 5.4 million tonnes of rice every year till 2015.
One main cause for the low quality of Vietnamese export rice is a post-harvest system that cannot keep up with the rapid increase in national production and the requirements of quality export markets, according to the International Rice Research Institute.
According to an international expert, the husking and polishing of rice are done separately, milling recovery is low, and head-rice recovery is only 40-45 per cent due to problems with raw-material quality, particularly with paddy harvested during the rainy season. Improper drying and storage are other problems. — VNS