Rice for exports (Photo: VNA)
HCM City (VNA) – The Vietnam Food Association (VFA) suggested exporting 2-3 million tonnes of rice per year through 2020 instead of 7-8 million tonnes at present.

At a workshop in Ho Chi Minh City on December 13, the VFA said nearly 70 percent of Vietnamese rice is sold in Asia each year with China the biggest importer, followed by the Philippines, Indonesia and Malaysia.

However, Vietnam’s rice exports to these markets are sluggish.

VFA Chairman Huynh The Nang said in previous years, the three ASEAN nations imported around 2-3 million tonnes of rice from Vietnam.

However, currently, rice export volume to the markets has reduced due to their governments’ policies of balancing domestic food and reducing dependence on rice imports.

Meanwhile, China has put forth new quarantine regulations, and signed a protocol with Vietnam setting stricter sterilisation inspections on Vietnamese rice and rice bran imports.

Nang said it is necessary to improve quality and ensure food safety by building safe material areas which trace the origin of products.

He advised making use of potential rice production regions, including Dong Thap Muoi (the Plain of Reeds) and Tu Giac Long Xuyen (Long Xuyen Quadrangle) and the rice-shrimp rotational crops region between the Tien and Hau rivers in the Mekong Delta.

Luong Hoang Thai, head of the Ministry of Industry and Trade’s Multilateral Trade Policy Department, said 90 percent of Vietnamese rice exports come from the Mekong Delta.

Over 1 million tonne of rice was lost due to drought and saltwater intrusion in the 2015-2016 winter-spring crops, he said, adding that rice production in the delta will face more difficulties from climate change and rising sea levels.

This requires the country to build large-scale paddy fields and stable material areas to create high-quality and competitive products, the panel suggested.-VNA