Vietnam shipped abroad almost 2.8 million tonnes of rice in the first five months of this year, raking in 1.2 billion USD, up nearly 10 percent over the same period last year.

This included the shipment of 650,000 tonnes for 273 million USD in May, reported t he Vietnam Food Association (VFA).

The VFA said rice exporters have set to export 7.5 million tonnes in 2013.

According to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, rice growers in the Mekong delta harvested 10.9 million tonnes of paddy rice in the 2013 winter-spring rice crop, up 200,000 tonnes from last year.

The high yield was attributed to close collaboration between the Ministry’s Plant Protection Department and regional provinces in taking measures to prevent and fight insect pests.

An appropriate rice cultivation strategy also worked, with high-quality rice varieties for export covering around 70 percent of farmland, while low-quality varieties only account for less than 15 percent.

Farmers in the region used disease-resistant varieties and effective technical methods such as Integrated Pest Management (IPM) to improve productivity and reduce farming costs.

The Mekong Delta has established large-scale production with the application of high technology and large-scale rice fields.

In 2012, the country exported a record 7.72 million tonnes of rice, earning 3.45 billion USD, according to VFA.-VNA