Organic rice is increasingly being preferred by many Vietnamese consumers despite its higher prices, the Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper reports.

The rice has become more popular for several reasons, including clear labels of origin and production that follows organic standards or national and international standards like VietGap and GlobalGap.

Ho Chi Minh City resident Pham Phuong Hong is one of many local residents who buy organic rice as well as fruit, vegetables, fish, meat at an organic food shop in District 3.

She says she prefers the rice because the labels show where and when the rice was planted and the date of harvest.

Companies are investing more in organic rice and vegetables, including the Ca Mau-based Vien Phu Organic and Healthy Foods Joint Stock Corporation, which has received organic production certificates granted by the US and EU.

Vo Minh Khai, General Director of Vien Phu, said the company initially planned to export its organic rice to high-end markets but local demand had now surpassed export orders.

Co May Co Ltd in Dong Thap province has also been selling three kinds of rice under the Nosavina brand.

There is a QR (quick response) code on each of the rice packages that tracks the product's origin, said Nham Ba Phuong, co-founder of Nosavina brand rice.

Consumers are concerned about quality, he said, but they are paying as much or more attention to the safety of the rice.

For that reason, the company invested 5 million USD to establish its rice material area and processing plant that meets HACCP standards, an internationally recognised method of managing food safety and protecting consumers, he said.

Along with organic rice, rice that contains high nutrients and other ingredients that can assist medical treatment is sold on the market.

Apart from white organic rice, Vien Phu supplies red, purple and black rice, Khai said, noting that this rice has higher nutrients and minerals than normal rice. The prices range from 45,000-75,000 VND (2.1-3.5 USD) per kilo.

Similarly, An Giang Plant Protection Joint Stock Company has introduced to the market Vibigaba sprouted rice, which can help stabilise blood glucose levels of diabetics.-VNA