Just less than 997,000 tonnes of winter-spring rice in the Mekong Delta were purchased and stockpiled as of April 14, accounting for 99.7 percent of Vietnam’s 1 million tone target.

Combined with the additional rice bought on April 15, the last purchasing day, the nation’s rice scheme has basically been fulfilled, according to Vo Thanh Do, Deputy Director of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development’s Department of Processing and Trade for Agro-Forestry-Fisheries Products and Salt Production.

The purchase has helped stabilise rice prices in the Mekong Delta - Vietnam’s biggest rice production hub, he said, elaborating that prices of the popular variety IR50404 increased by 200-250 VND per kg, while those of fragrant rice rose by 300-500 VND per kg.

Although rice prices have dropped from time to time, they are still 100-150 VND per kg higher than they were in the period prior to the purchase scheme, he noted.

The purchase for stockpile, approved by the Prime Minister, was made via rice trading enterprises under the Vietnam Food Association (VFA) from March 1 to April 15 with the VFA and provincial People’s Committees responsible for assigning a specific quota to each trader. The enterprises also received interest subsidies for up to 4 months for bank loans taken to purchase the rice.

Official statistics show that as of March 18, the Mekong Delta region cultivated rice crops on 1.557 out of 1.565 million hectares of allotted plantation land. The region expects to harvest 940,000 hectares with a yield of 6.34 million tonnes of rice.

The Mekong Delta 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