Rice Article: Vietnam
Rice producers export 50% less than last year
Southern Food Corporation (Vinafood 2) General Director Truong Thanh Phong attributes the low export numbers to an exceptionally large amount of rice exports in the last months of 2003, leaving a small quantity for export in the first months of this year.
The world market usually demands a large supply of rice at the year’s end, and rice exports in January are typically lower than other months of the year.
Phong also said news that Indonesia will not import rice from Viet Nam in the first half of this year should not worry domestic exporters.
He said last year, even though Viet Nam exported just 200,000 tonnes to Indonesia, only half the sales contract, it still reached the annual export target of four million tonnes of rice.
This is attributed to food companies finding new export markets in the Phillipines, Brasil, Africa and the Middle East. Russia is expected to help Viet Nam export 100,000 tonnes of rice to Russian and Eastern European markets this year.
Also worth noting, the country’s biggest rice basket in the Cuu Long (Mekong) River Delta, is harvesting 230,000ha of winter-spring crop, a bumper crop this year.
Director of An Giang Province’s Department of Agriculture and Rural Development Nguyen Van Phuong said local farmers obtained a rice output of 6.5 tonnes per hectare, 0.5 tonne more than the same crop last year.
Provincial authorities are not only concerned with crop output but are looking for ways to ensure food security for areas hit by natural disasters. Since early this year, the northern part of the country has been hit by severe drought which is forecast to spread to the central region, Tay Nguyen (Central Highlands) and southeastern provinces in the coming months.
The situation requires the Cuu Long region to reserve up to one million tonnes of rice a year to transport foods to the north, the central part and Tay Nguyen if necessary. — VNS