The Mekong Delta’s total rice output is expected to reach 9.3 million tonnes in the 2013 summer-autumn crop, said the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) at a conference in Can Tho city on May 23.

The region also targets more than 4.6 million tonnes of husked rice, including 3.1 million tonnes for trade, it said.

According to the ministry, the country’s rice bowl has more than 1.8 hectares for the ongoing summer-autumn rice crop, representing a decrease of over 6,400 hectares. By May 8, more than 1.1 million hectares have been filled, accounting for over 62 percent of the plan.

In an effort to stabilise rice price and ensure minimum profits for farmers, the MARD has mapped out a plan on 2013 summer-autumn crop rice reserves to be submitted to the Prime Minister.

Under the plan, the ministry proposed purchasing 1 million tonnes of rice for reserves, or 30 percent of total output reaped in the 2013 summer-autumn crop, within two months, beginning from June 15.

According to the Vietnam Food Association, by May 16, Vietnam shipped abroad 2.4 million tonnes of rice, up 11.5 percent in volume and 4.85 percent in value.

The country signed contracts to export 4.42 million tonnes of rice, of which nearly 2.4 million tonnes have been handed over to customers.

Meanwhile, the rice volume for domestic consumption is expected to hit 8 million tonnes in 2013, excluding an inventory of 787,000 tonnes from the previous year.

The MARD said that Vietnamese rice will continue facing difficulties in 2013 as import demands of several Asian countries are forecast to sharply fall and competitions increase among exporters, with newly emerging rivals such as India and Myanmar.-VNA