Mekong Delta localities are set to mechanise up to 80 percent of rice harvest process in order to reduce post-harvest loss to 12 percent by 2020, according to a plan by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.

Toward this goal, the localities will encourage the manufacturing of combine harvesters and paddy dryers, while giving financial assistance in the form of loans for farmers to buy the machines.

By 2020, the localities expect to have 20,000-25,000 additional combine harvesters and dryers to ensure 100 percent of harvested paddy rice is dried using machines.

Meanwhile, this year, the region will double the capacity of their storehouses to 4 million tonnes, mostly in provinces with high rice outputs of Kien Giang, An Giang, Long An and Soc Trang, ensuring 90 percent of the country’s export volume.

At the same time, new technology in rice husking and polishing will be applied to reduce the rate of broken rice to 0.2 percent, thus increasing the volume of rice with 5 percent of broken rice to 60 percent of the total rice export in 2017 and 70 percent in 2020.

The efforts are expected to help the region cut their rice production cost by 30,000 VND each tonne and increase turnover from rice by 500 billion VND per year.

According to the Mekong Delta Rice Research Institute, the region needs about 20,000 combine harvesters to serve 1.6 million hectares of rice each crop. However, the region currently has only 10,000 machines.

Storing capacity of farmers has yet to meet requirement, resulting in a decrease in rice quality after 1-2 months, added the institute.

The combined losses throughout the post-harvest process can climb to more than 20.6 percent, equivalent to 635 million USD per year, reported the Agricultural Post-Harvest Engineering and Technology Sub-Institute under the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.-VNA