Vietnam needs to create an international brand name for its rice in addition to developing high-quality cross-bred varieties, experts suggested at a workshop held in Hanoi on November 26.

This requires an effective marketing strategy to raise consumers’ awareness of the Vietnamese rice and to help the country surpass major rice exporters like Thailand and India, they said, adding that it’s high time for Vietnam to develop a variety research system.

Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Le Quoc Doanh emphasised the need to increase the added value of rice for export, thus improving growers’ incomes.

To do this, the country hopes to receive support and collaboration from foreign partners, including the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) and the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO), in order to build its own trademark for this product, he said.

With IRRA support, the ministry is expected to soon build a feasible cooperation framework for the local rice sector, he added.

Deputy Director of the ministry’s Department of Crops Production Tran Xuan Dinh suggested forging links between farmers and businesses, and called for IRRI technical assistance in biotechnology and sustainable production.

Vietnam has so far this year exported 5.5 million tonnes of rice worth 2.56 billion USD, according to the Vietnam Food Association (VFA).

The VFA predicted 2015 to be a tough year for Vietnam 's rice exporters in the face of fierce competition from their Thai rivals.-VNA