Exponential growth of rice exports from Vietnam last two decades augurs well for the nation's food security as well as the world, said experts at a conference in the Mekong delta province of Soc Trang yesterday ( Nov. 9).
However, the shrinking rice cultivable area was a matter of concern, even as food demands increased worldwide. This needs addressing by adopting more efficient farming models, experts added.
The current floods in Thailand have reduced the country’s rice export volume somewhat, but India and Pakistan have made up for the deficit.
Experts attending the conference focused on rice production in the Mekong Delta, known as the nation's rice granary, and forecast that Vietnam’s rice exports could reach about 10 million tonnes by 2015 or 2016.
The Viet Nam Food Association (VFA) reported that this year's rice exports were expected to set a record surpassing 7 million tonnes, accounting for more than 20 per cent of the world’s rice trade.
Agriculture experts have estimated that the total volume of rice lost in harvest can be as high as 10-15 per cent of the total production. At this rate, with annual production exceeding 40 million tonnes, the volume of rice lost is a whopping 2.5 million tonnes.
VFA General Secretary Huynh Minh Hue said that between 2006 and 2010, the country's rice exports have grown sharply from 4.69 to 6.75 million tonnes. The growth has picked up and final export figures are expected to top 7 million tonnes.
He also noted that recent improvements in rice exports did not originate from production but harvesting and post-harvesting processes.
But rice exports were not likely to increase next year, he added.
The Institute of Agricultural Sciences for Southern Vietnam announced that the nation's rice revolution would be able to contribute to the rising food demand as the world's population grows from the current 7 to 9 billion by 2020.
It is expected that Vietnam’s total productivity could rise to 44 to 45 million tonnes of rice by 2015 with exports rising to more than 9 million tonnes.
Most people are confident that Vietnam could produce 46 million tonnes of paddy and export 9.5 tonnes of rice annually by 2015.