Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc has urged relevant ministries and agencies to review rice consumption and propose solutions to purchase rice for farmers especially those in the Mekong Delta.
|Farmers harvest rice in Vi Thuy district, Hau Giang province (Photo: SGGP)|
According to a document conveying the PM’s instruction from the Government Office, the PM asked the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, the Ministry of Industry and Trade, the Ministry of Finance, the State Bank of Vietnam and the Vietnam Food Association (VFA) to suggest specific solutions.
The rice industry has faced many challenges and difficulties such as alluvium shortage due to low floodwater level, severe drought and salt intrusion, diseases and market shrink.
This year, floodwater has not flown into the delta as much as it used to in previous years, failing a plan increasing autumn winter farming area by Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development while over 200,000 hectares were damaged by drought and salt intrusion in the previous two crops this year.
The hardest hit provinces comprise Ben Tre, Tra Vinh, Long An, Tien Giang, Soc Trang and Bac Lieu. Farmers will be more dependent on water release from the upper reaches of the Mekong River.
Many areas hit by drought and salt intrusion have reduced farming areas by converting into other crops and not sowing autumn winter rice.
The ministry has forecast that this year rice output will reduce 700,000 tons compared to last year.
Authorized agencies should keep a close eye on the situation, forecast where will be seriously affected by drought and salt intrusion and give farmers timely and reasonable advices to avoid possible damage, said deputy minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Le Quoc Doanh.
Vietnam exported about 3.76 million tons worth US$1.69 billion in the first nine months this year, down 16.4 percent in volume and 12.5 percent in value over the same period last year, reported the ministry.
China--the largest market of Vietnam saw a strong reduction while other rice export nations such as India, Thailand and Pakistan have stepped up shipping.
The Mekong Delta is estimated to produce 25 million tons of rice this year. Basing on this, VFA expected rice export volume to reach 7.58 million tons.
However, experts have said that export volume will reach only 1.2 million tons in the fourth quarter and about 5 million tons this year.