ST 25 and golden chance to build Vietnam rice brand hinh anh 1Agronomist Ho Quang Cua and the certificate of ST25 as the world's best rice (Source: VNA)

Hanoi, (VNA) – After winning the title of the best rice in the world, the ST25 rice has become one of the most sought after rice in the market, and some traders have sold other rice varieties falsely labeled as ST25.

This has affected not only consumers but also the prestige of Vietnamese rice.

A 12-year journey for ST25 to rise to the top position

It took nearly 12 years to create the ST25 variety, according to agronomist Ho Quang Cua, who has been conferred with the noble title Labour Hero.

The Soc Trang (ST) rice research team was formed in 2002 with members comprising Ho Quang Cua, Dr. Tran Tan Phuong and agronomist Nguyen Thi Thu Huong. They worked on crossbreeding rice varieties imported from Taiwan, Bangladesh, the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), Thailand, and domestic varieties.

But it was not until 2004 that they produced a desired variety and released it in 2009. The variety was later won the “Golden Rice Ear” award.

In 2017, the group’s ST24 variety won the first prize at a rice festival in the Mekong Delta province of Soc Trang. The variety later earned a place among the world’s best three rice varieties at an event held in Macau (China).

ST 25 and golden chance to build Vietnam rice brand hinh anh 2Cooked ST25 rice is tender but not wet, with good fragrance and taste (Photo: VietnamPlus)

The ST24 variety again won prizes at the third Vietnam Rice Festival in 2018. The following year, the Vietnam Food Association selected ST24 and ST25 for the 11th Annual World’s Best Rice Contest in the Philippines in November. Both varieties were named among the top group, and ST25 was chosen for the first prize.

Enhancing the position of Vietnamese rice

At present, Soc Trang has a collection of ST rice varieties from ST1 to ST28, and some ST red rice with high content of nutrition.

The ST varieties, besides their good taste when cooked, are outstanding in resisting diseases and salt water. They can also be cultivated for several crops during a year.

The recognition of ST25 as the world’s best rice is very significant to the creation of rice varieties in Vietnam, opening up many chances for the rice industry.

Ho Quang Cua said this is a golden chance to build the Vietnamese rice trademark and lifting the position of Vietnamese rice in the international market, ending the impression of cheap Vietnamese rice.

According to him, the Government should provide support to ensure the supply of genuine seeds to farmers.

Difficult struggle to protect trademark

For Vietnamese rice to establish its foothold in the world market and keep customers, it is necessary to keep customers’ trust besides building a trademark. This can only be achieved when the quality of both rice seeds and commercial rice is ensured.

At present, fake rice varieties and violations of trademark protection are rampant in the Mekong Delta, pushing prices and the value of Vietnamese rice down.

Fakes of ST25 rice are everywhere, from the traditional wet markets to the internet, with all types of packages and prices. Some trading websites even pushed the price to 35,000-45,000 VND per kg of ST25 rice, while the official distributor of the rice – the Ho Tri Quang company – sells at only 27,000 VND.

ST 25 and golden chance to build Vietnam rice brand hinh anh 3 Agronomist Ho Quang Cua introduces the ST24 rice variety at the experiment field (Photo: VNA)

Agronomist Ho Quang Cua is deeply concerned about the situation. He said it is difficult to win a title, but it is even harder to keep the prestige.

Many good rice varieties earlier suffered from the same fate, and the long-term losses are suffered by farmers and consumers.

It is hoped that the new Cultivation Law, which is taking effect in early 2020, will serve as an effective tool to help Vietnamese rice earn a deserving and firm foothold in the world market./.