Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade, Tran Tuan Anh, spoke with Nong Thon Ngay Nay (Countryside Today) about a new plan to limit the number of rice exporters in Viet Nam.
The Ministry of Industry and Trade just announced a plan to cut the number of rice exporters to 150 by 2015. Why is the number 150?
It is necessary to limit the number of rice export enterprises as the global rice market continues to face difficulties. These enterprises must be able to meet increasingly fierce competition in the international rice market while ensuring national food security and the benefits of both consumers and farmers.
Viet Nam produces about 7-8 million tonnes of rice annually. Currently there are about 300 exporters, many of which lack necessary facilities such as storage and rice husking mills and fail to negotiate export contracts with foreign partners. Some just want to pocket quick cash, causing unfair competition and hurting the image of Vietnamese rice.
About 100 enterprises have been licensed according to the 2010 government decree that stipulated criteria for rice export enterprises. Recently, more than 50 have been required to get licences.
What do enterprises have to do to get licences?
All criteria are spelled out in the decree and the ministry's Article 12. The People's Committee in localities and the departments of industry and trade and agriculture will be in charge of reporting to the ministry which enterprises should be licensed.
Could you explain why the ministry's plan requires enterprises to have material supply zones while the Government decree doesn't?
It's true that the decree doesn't mention material supply zones. However, this is an important policy the Government has required the Ministry of Industry and Trade to supplement in the decree. Enterprises with material supply zones will be given priority. We believe that this will assure the output of rice for the market and create close connections between agricultural production and market work and between export enterprises and farmers.
This is a tough task that needs a roadmap. The ministry will co-operate with authorised agencies to set up such a plan by 2014. The State will also implement supportive policies to help enterprises build their own material supply zones or order agricultural products with farmers. — VNS