|VNA/VNS Photo Quang Quyet
HA NOI (VNS) — Viet Nam and the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) will implement a US$30 million, five-year project starting in 2015 to improve the image and quality of Vietnamese rice.
The quality of Vietnamese rice was lower than that of neighbouring countries such as Thailand and growers remained poor, IRRI director general Robert Zeigler said at a conference this week with Viet Nam's Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.
Under the project, IRRI will help Viet Nam implement a marketing strategy that can overcome the country's image as a supplier of low-quality rice, according to IRRI consultant Lourdes Adriano. The institute will also provide technical support to reduce pre and post-harvest losses and develop measures to enhance Viet Nam's leadership in food security and capacity to adapt to climate change.
Deputy agriculture minister Le Quoc Doanh noted that the agricultural sector faced huge challenges, as its contribution to GDP dropped from 20 per cent in 2010 to 19 per cent in 2013, but was optimistic that IRRI's expertise in researching and developing sustainable rice varieties would help farmers gain better income.
A representative from An Giang Province Department of Agriculture and Rural Development expressed the need for IRRI to support staff at the local level when it came to choosing suitable rice varieties.
MARD and IRRI will form a steering committee to oversee the programme. MARD will select the members of the committee, which will be chaired by the MARD.
Viet Nam and IRRI have worked together since 1963. — VNS