The southern central coastal and Central Highlands regions have grown more than 604,000 hectares of rice so far this year, yielding over 3.2 million tonnes of unhusked rice, 1,300 tonnes more than the 2012 output.

The figures were released at a meeting to review the regions’ rice production which was held in central Da Nang city on October 8 by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD).

In 2014, the localities in the region are instructed to maintain the rice cultivation area while shifting to rice varieties that are in great demand on the market.

They are also urged to zone areas for high-quality rice, expand the application of the Vietnam Good Agriculture Practices (VietGap), and apply advanced technology.

In the 2013 – 2014 winter-spring crop, the regions are set to cultivate rice on more than 257,370 hectares with a projected output of over 1.5 million tonnes of paddy rice, 16,000 tonnes higher than the figure of the same crop last year.

At another meeting in late September, southern provinces reported that the total rice cultivation area in the region was over 4.7 million hectares with average productivity of 5.72 tonnes per hectare in 2013 .-VNA