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MARD to examine rice storage problems

Update: March, 18/2015 - 08:38
The Song Hau Food Company loads rice on to a truck for storage. The Agriculture Ministry has said it will inspect rice stockpiling in major growing areas. — VNA/VNS Photo Dinh Hue

HA NOI (VNS) — The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) will establish an inspection team to deal with difficulties in the Viet Nam Food Association (VFA)'s rice-stockpiling program, the deputy minister Vu Van Tam has said to Tuoi Tre (Youth).

According to the VFA, efforts to encourage enterprises to buy 2014-15 winter-spring rice for storage has only managed to find storage for 12 per cent of the programme's target.

To deal with the lag, the VFA asked the central bank to work with commercial banks in creating favourable policies for enterprises that buy rice for storage, including attractive loans for buying the rice.

A rice expert complained that the VFA itself was partly responsible for the slow distribution of loans because of the VFA's allocation of quotas.

The VFA set rice-storage quotas for a list of large enterprises based on several factors, factors that might not reflect a business's current situation, such as how well they stored winter-spring rice harvests in the past.

In order to get the rice loans, businesses must be in a healthy financial situation. But, in fact, many businesses on the VFA's quota list are in poor financial situations and cannot get loans from banks.

Though many banks have started to offer these preferential loans for rice purchases, they continue to maintain their own minimum standards for offering loans.

A representative of Eximbank said many enterprises lost money when buying rice last year or businesses used loans for other purposes, making this year's loan scrutiny all that much higher.

Le Duc Tho, the general director of Vietinbank, similarly said the bank would only offer loans if it could be assured it can reclaim the loans from the enterprise.

The VFA has been faulted for not carefully reviewing the actual financial situation of enterprises on their quota list.

MARD had been tasked with fixing the current situation. However, if problems ran deeper than MARD's powers, they would reach out to the Prime Minister for help, said deputy minister of MARD Tam. — VNS

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