Mekong Delta eyes larger premium-quality rice areas to boost exports
To this end, the province is taking measures to improve the effectiveness of rice branding and upgrade the value chain of specialty rice products, including the widely-known ST24 and ST25. It will also promote clean and environmentally-friendly cultivation of rice to enhance the sustainability of the sector.
Soc Trang has zoned off farming areas of specialty rice varieties for export, established production cooperatives, and accelerated use of advanced technology into cultivation.
Last year, agribusinesses and traders cooperated with growers to distribute rice cultivated on a total area of over 61,900 hectares, up 68 percent from 2020. This will lay a foundation for sustainably heightening rice values and promote a win-win partnership among the stakeholders, said Director of the provincial Department of Agriculture and Rural Development Huynh Ngoc Nha.
In Tra Vinh, farmers have received support from authorities to produce and distribute high-quality rice cultivated from more than 1,650 hectares and those farmed under organic standards of the EU, USDA and JAS.
Loc Troi Group JSC has helped growers to expand premium-quality rice areas from 300 hectares in the 2021 – 2022 Winter/Spring to about 1,000 hectares in the 2022 Summer/Fall season.
According to Le Van Dong, Deputy Director of the provincial Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, Tra Vinh eyes to have 200,000 hectares under rice by 2025, of which 2,000 – 3,500 hectares will be for organic farming and 20,000 – 30,000 hectares for clean production.
The province has also encouraged farmers to apply good agricultural practices, for example VietGAP, that enable the efficient use of water and fertilisers and less use of pesticides, and improve productivity and quality.
Local rice exporter Tan Long Group has put into operation the largest rice processing factory in Asia, equipped to the modern EU standards, with a designed capacity of some 1,000 tonnes of rice per day.
The group has stretched its network of farming cooperatives to An Giang where they have been engaged into cultivation of 30,000 hectares of rice. It expects to further expand the network in the future, with a focus placed on high-quality varieties, such as Japonica, Jasmine, ST21, ST24, and ST25.
Firms must pay more attention to branding as well-branded products can fetch 10 – 20 percent higher than those not produced by a brand name, said Nguyen Ngoc Nam, President of the Vietnam Food Association./.