The Prime Minister’s Office on February 13 agreed to a proposal on purchasing 1 million tonnes of rice for stockpile in the context of abundant supply from the Winter-Spring 2014-2015 crop harvest in the Mekong Delta region.

The proposal was put forth during a conference earlier the same day held by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD), Ministry of Finance, the State Bank of Vietnam (SBV), and the Vietnam Food Association (VFA) in Hanoi.

The purchase will be made via rice trading enterprises under the VFA from March 1 to April 15, 2015 with the VFA and provincial People’s Committees responsible for assigning specific quota to each trader. The enterprises will receive interest subsidy for up to 4 months for bank loans taken to purchase the rice.

According to the MARD’s report, the total output of the Mekong Delta’s Winter-Spring 2014-2015 crop is expected to reach 11.3 million tonnes of unhusked rice, equivalent to 4.3 million tonnes of commercial rice while there are still around 707,000 tonnes in the rice inventory accumulated from last year. This has brought the total commercial rice stock to 5 million tonnes. Meanwhile, rice export is estimated to amount to only 1.4 million tonnes in the first four months of the year, resulting in falling domestic rice price.

According to the VFA General Secretary Huynh Minh Hue, now is the right time to start purchasing rice for stockpile, which will help keep rice price stable.

The Mekong Delta, the country’s largest rice granary, comprises of 12 provinces and one centrally-run city with a total area of 40,000 square kilometres and a combined population of 18 million.-VNA