Provinces in the Mekong Delta have so far fulfilled only nearly 8 percent of the government plan to purchase and stockpile one million tonnes of rice in the winter-spring crop 2014-2015.

At a meeting on rice production in Can Tho City on March 10, Huynh The Nang, general director of the Southern Food Corporation, reported that 128 traders joining the stockpiling programme have purchased 79,360 tonnes of rice, far behind the pace of harvest.

Nang blamed the slow purchase on the fact that small trading businesses have faced a lot of barriers in getting loans from banks.

He said until now no specific solution has been in sight for the problem.

He recommended that local authorities should get involved more to help remove obstacles and accelerate the pace of the programme, which aims at maintaining rice price at profitable level for farmers during the harvest season.

Dao Anh Dung, vice chairman of Can Tho city’s People’s Committee, added that another difficulty for the programme is a lack of drying facilities.

He also said many local canals have filled up, hindering the movement of boats, a common means of transporting goods in the region.-VNA