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Focus on measures to help Mekong Delta rice farmers: PM

Update: March, 16/2014 - 13:03
Rice is transported to storage in Mekong Delta. — Photo VNA
CAN THO — Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung has urged Mekong Delta localities to support effective rice production and selling models, while speeding up the mechanisation of agriculture, in a bid to ensure sustainable development of the regional rice sector.

Addressing a conference on the Mekong Delta region's rice production and distribution held on March 15 in Can Tho city, PM Dung said the region should promote its strengths in rice, aquatic and fruit production by expanding successful models.

He reiterated the importance of accurate business forecasts to avoid a plunge of price in yielding crops and said it is necessary to pay more attention to the research of higher quality and yielding rice varieties.

The government leader urged Mekong Delta localities to encourage the application of science and technology as well as modern machines, as part of efforts to restructure the agriculture sector.

He also approved a proposal to start stockpiling rice from March 15 in an effort to maintain the domestic price and avoid loss for farmers, asking ministries and localities to coordinate closely in the work.

According to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, the Mekong Delta region – the largest rice bowl of Vietnam – will harvest 8.6 million tonnes of rice this year, with the 2013-14 Winter-Spring crop set to produce 4.3 million tonnes.

Since early March, a sharp fall of 400-500 VND per kilogram has been seen in the rice price to between 4,400 and 5,300 VND per kilogram.

Participants at the conference also pointed out challenges that the rice sector faces, including unpredictable developments of the market after Thailand – one of the world largest rice exporters – announced it will sell up to 20 million tonnes.

At the same time, the State Bank of Vietnam pledged a credit package of 8 trillion VND (376 million USD) for businesses involved in the buying of reserve rice, and loans with preferential interest rate for farmers in a bid to encourage the application of high technology in production. — VNA/VNS

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