Developing Countries Will Lead Global Rice Import Growth in 2013-22, Says USDA Rice growers positive California MG prices are UP Russia MG Harvest coming to end Egypt open rice exports Vietnam’s rice export in tough competition with India Thai rice exports in May Rise Above Target This Year Viet-Nam Rice exports likely to fall this year
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Quality new name of the game for rice
HA NOI — Viet Nam can boast it is the world’s second-largest rice exporter, but its rice ranks only fourth in export value, with agriculture specialists widely attributing this to lower quality.

President of Agrifood Consulting International Francesco Goletti said although the quality of Viet Nam’s rice exports had improved somewhat in recent years, a large bulk of the rice shipped to markets in West Africa, Indonesia, the Philippines and Iraq is not of high quality.

In export contracts the price of Vietnamese rice was sometimes less than production costs, which Goletti said reflected Viet Nam’s lack of international trade experience and limited risk-management strategies.

Last year Viet Nam exported more than 4 million tonnes of rice — mainly white and long grain — representing a 6.3 per cent increase compared to the previous year. This increase; however, is at odds with an increase in export turnover value of 23 per cent.

Quality control

Industry pundits are starting to urge farmers to focus on the premium rice varieties to earn higher incomes.

Whereas one tonne of the grain with 5 per cent broken rice sells for US$220-$225; the price for fragrant rice ranges from $250 to $400 per tonne

Head of the planning section at An Giang Agriculture and Foodstuff Company, Pham Tan Hoa, said domestic consumers were mainly consuming rice blended from two or three varieties.

He said farmers in An Giang Province had been introduced to about six different rice strains by local agriculture authorities; however, poor processing facilities and other production difficulties had been obstacles to their plan to improve rice quality.

Goletti agreed that Viet Nam needed to diversify its export rice varieties and market these to more lucrative and discerning markets, especially if the country wanted to compete with neighbouring countries like world’s number one producer, Thailand.

He pointed out any advances would require more sophisticated production and husking techniques combined with marketing prowess.

Smell of success

Echoing these ideas, Dao The Anh at Viet Nam Agricultural Science Institute, said lifting the incomes of Vietnamese farmers would be heavily dependent on their ability to embrace high-quality rice varieties.

Anh, who also lectures on agriculture systems at the institute, said his faculty is working to expand production of the northern province of Hai Hau’s speciality fragrant rice.

The institute had started an association dedicated to examining all stages of production and delivery for the ‘Hai Hau’ fragrant rice.

The association’s research uncovered increasing demand for this rice variety in Ha Noi and other big cities, which leads to the possibility it will be domestic, not international, pressure that spurs greater production of quality rice.

Nguyen Thi Quynh Chi, director of the Women’s Consumer Club in the capital city, said her members wanted to buy high-quality rice and would be prepared to pay more for the privilege.

Chi said Vietnamese rice needed to grow a prestigious reputation, not only for export markets, but also for domestic consumers.
MGR Archive 23.1.2005
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