A rice field ready for harvest in Vietnam. (Photo: VNA)

Hanoi (VNA) – Panamanian enterprises want to cooperate with Vietnamese counterparts in rice cultivation and distribution, as heard at a rice trade promotion workshop held recently in Chiriqui province – Panama’s largest granary.

More than 70 local businesses attending the workshop said they expect the signing of a letter of intent between a relevant Vietnamese agency and Chiriqui’s rice producers association.

The pact would allow the implementation of a pilot field covering approximately 3,000 hectares, with rice strains, technical support and experts supplied by Vietnam.

The Chiriqui’s rice producers association will assist Vietnamese rice to gain easier access to Panama’s market.

According to former Minister of Agricultural Development Guillermo Salazar, 87 percent of rice farming area in Chiriqui is cultivated in only one crop a year, yielding a mere four tonnes per hectare.

Panama is capable of meeting 75 percent of domestic demand for rice. The remaining 25 percent or 100,000 tonnes of rice need to be imported, he said.

The ex-minister said Panama is willing to work with Vietnam and seeks assistance for experts, strains and fertilizers in a bid to boost local productivity.

Vietnamese Ambassador to Panama Vu Ngoc Minh highlighted that Vietnam could work with Panama in food development project as well as selling rice to Panama at more competitive prices.-VNA