HÀ NỘI — Rice production and exports has shifted towards quality and added value, promoting safe production and applying high technology while organic agriculture has been given special attention for development.
That was the message from Deputy Prime Minister Vương Đình Huệ delivered at the 10th World Rice Conference held in Hà Nội on Thursday.
Huệ said agriculture and rural development is a major policy of the Vietnamese Party, State and Government, in which rice production and export play an important role in contributing to food security for Việt Nam, the region and the world.
Despite a strong industrialisation and modernisation process, rice fields now account for around 60 per cent of Việt Nam’s total arable area, and production is essential for the livelihoods of nearly nine million farming households in the country.
After more than 30 years of renewal, Việt Nam has risen from a poor country which had to import food to one of the three largest rice exporters in the world.
Last year, Việt Nam exported nearly six million tonnes of rice, earning US$2.6 billion, up 21 per cent in volume and 22 per cent in value year-on-year.
Vietnamese rice is available in 150 nations and territories, Huệ said, adding that Việt Nam is eyeing potential markets in Europe, America and Oceania, along with its traditional ones such as China, the Philippines, Malaysia, Cuba and African nations.
“Vietnamese rice is also able to meet all criteria to enter the most picky markets in the world, as the country has paid much attention to applying high technologies in production and developing organic agriculture,” he said.
The Vietnamese Government has set a target of intensifying production and export connectivity through a value chain, he added, ensuring the quality of exported rice, and entering more deeply into the global rice value chain so as to build and confirm the prestige of Vietnamese rice trademark.
Although rice production is facing numerous challenges from climate change, the Deputy PM expressed his belief that new scientific and technological advances would help the rice sector to produce new varieties that could adapt.
Minister of Industry and Trade Trần Tuấn Anh said Việt Nam holds an increasingly important role in co-ordinating with rice importers, exporters and partners to effectively participate in the globe’s rice product chain and food security.
The country’s rice export market development strategy for the 2017-20 period with a vision to 2030 focuses on developing export markets, helping raise farmers’ income, ensuring domestic food security and social welfare, and protecting the eco-environment. The strategy also targets to build Vietnamese rice trademark and intensify connectivity through a value chain from production to consumption and export, Anh added.
Jeremy Zwinger, The Rice Trader (TRT) President and CEO, said Việt Nam’s hosting of the 10th conference shows its Government’s commitment to the development and trade of rice.
He said Việt Nam’s rice production and trade has seen positive progress and expressed his confidence in the Vietnamese Government’s attention to developing the rice value in the future.
With a message of “investing in the rice sector in future”, delegates discussed global trends on rice production and trade in 2018 and the following years, shared experience in producing rice sustainably, controlling the supply chain, developing rice trademark and applying technology in this sector. Many stressed unpredictable changes in global trade, especially rice trade, as rice is a sensitive commodity with high requirements on food safety and environment protection.