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1 million ha of paddy, 9 million tons of high-quality rice in pipeline

18 July 2023

Growing 1 million hectares of high-quality paddy rice in Mekong Delta is an important project which is still on paper, but a number of countries have said they want to place orders.

The plan has caught the attention of rice importers who estimate that the 1 million ha would create 9 million tons of high-quality rice.

Discussing the plan in HCM City at a meeting about rice exports last week, Nguyen Duy Thuan, general director of Loc Troi Group, said many countries have questioned if they have the right to register to buy the rice.

“They ask us if they can register the purchases, and how much they have to pay as a deposit. The Philippines wants to pay a deposit to buy 3 million tons, while Indonesia wants 1 million,” Thuan said. 

According to Thuan, the 1 million hectares will influence the international market. There are many rice buyers, but each market sets its own standards. The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) needs to set criteria, especially related to traceability and be sure that the criteria is observed by farmers and enterprises.

Bui Thi Thanh Tam, deputy chair of the Vietnam Food Association (VFA), said that Vietnam has no other choice. Vietnam recently tried to develop large-scale paddy fields, but the results were modest. Therefore, implementing the plan on 1 million ha of high-quality paddy field will need close cooperation between farmers and enterprises.

Tam said 10 years ago Vietnam’s rice exports relied on certain markets, and if they did not buy, Vietnam could not sell rice to anyone else. However, the plan on restructuring rice farming has improved Vietnam’s rice quality. Having high-quality products, the country has a right to choose markets.

Truong Ba Sy, chair of Tan Long Group, said the final goal of the 1-million-hectare high-quality paddy plan is improving the competitiveness of Vietnam’s rice.

“It is necessary to define what the advantages are: yield, quality or production costs,” he said. “India, the No 1 rice exporter, only has one high-quality rice variety, while the others all are low-quality, but production costs are very low.”

Vietnam should pay attention to the use of varieties, post-harvesting work; invest in logistics; popularize products, and develop markets. If the rice has high quality and production costs are reasonable, clients will come to buy. 

Sy wants to have preferential capital so that enterprises can build mills for deep processing which can bring high added value to Vietnam’s rice. 

He said that the vital issue is chain linkage, in which the green economy and circular economy play an important role in sustainable development.

Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Le Minh Hoan said many projects fail because "appropriate agencies go this way, while enterprises go another way" that is, enterprises don’t know what ministries and branches are doing, and ministries and branches don’t know what enterprises are doing. 

As for rice production in Japan, from farming to harvesting and processing products from rice, Hoan stressed that Vietnam just exports rice, while Japan has developed an entire business field, which means it grows rice, and makes powder, cake and other products from rice.

He said Vietnam should think of making many products from rice ti increase the value of rice. Rice is not only food, but also has uses in cosmetics and pharmaceuticals.

Vietnam will grow high-quality rice on 1 million hectares and re-organize the production system with value chains, and apply sustainable farming, improving farmers’ lives, ensuring food security, and improving Vietnam’s rice prestige.

The plan will be implemented in 12 Mekong Delta provinces by 2030. Many localities have registered to participate in the plan with total registered area of more than 1 million hectares.

Source: Vietnam Net