Vietnam and the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) on May 7 inked a memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on technological cooperation to develop Vietnam ’s rice sector.

The MoU was signed by Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Cao Duc Phat and IRRI Director Robert S. Zeigler.

Addressing the signing ceremony, Phat said the event marks a new development in the cooperation between the two sides.

He said the rice sector is now a key focus for Vietnam, adding that the country is also facing great challenges in developing the sector, including the improvement of productivity, quality and added values, thus creating higher incomes for farmers in the context of diminishing farmland.

Besides, Vietnam has to respond to climate change, which is forecast to seriously hit Vietnam’s main rice hubs, especially the Mekong Delta region, he said.

Zeigler expressed his pleasure at the IRRI’s contributions to the success of Vietnam’s rice sector.

He described Vietnam’s experience in the field as a good example for other countries to study, adding that in the future, his institute will continue to work closely with Vietnam in seeking ways to respond to climate change in Southeast Asia.

As one of the leading agricultural research institutes in the world, IRRI has given Vietnam remarkable support in rice research and production since 1975. Experts said IRRI rice varieties are cultivated in 60-70 percent of Vietnam’s total rice cultivation area.

Annually, the institute helps train thousands of Vietnamese apprentices and scientists and creates conditions for Vietnam’s institutes to access the world’s new achievements in the field.-VNA