The Vietnam Food Association (VFA) plans to purchase 1 million tonnes of summer-autumn rice between July 15 and August 30, but enterprises are concerned over a lack of capital for purchasing activities.

The association's 80 member enterprises will purchase 1 million tonnes for temporary stock in order to maintain the price of rice at 5,500-6,000 VND per kilo and ensure farmers are making a profit.

The price of rice has started to fall in the Cuu Long (Mekong) Delta provinces of Dong Thap, Tien Giang and An Giang, said the association.

Duong Nghia Quoc, director of the Dong Thap Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, said the VFA's plan is a good sign for farmers, but a lack of capital would affect purchasing activities and exports.

"High interest loans will affect purchasing activities because exporters are reluctant to take them out at the moment," said Cao Thi Ngoc Hoa, deputy general director of the Southern Food Corporation.

"Only those that have already signed export contracts will purchase now," Hoa said.

High interest loans will also affect investment in warehouses and drying facilities that are needed to increase the value of rice in line with new Government standards for rice exporters that willbecome effective on October 1, she said.

Only the An Giang Import Export Joint Stock Company (Angimex) has reached the standards necessary to be awarded a certificate by the Ministry of Industry and Trade under Decree 109 on trading and exporting rice.

According to the VFA, Vietnam expects to export 3.9 million tonnes of rice in the first half of this year./.