Increase rice exports but ensure food security: PM

By Anh Minh   August 6, 2023 | 06:35 pm PT
Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh has issued a directive on ensuring food security while seizing opportunities to increase rice exports amid the current high global prices to benefit farmers.

Prices have risen sharply after India, Russia and the UAE banned rice exports.

In Vietnam too, some localities have seen massive purchases of the grain by traders, which has pushed prices up to unreasonably high levels.

The prime minister has instructed the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development and other ministries and local authorities to review the situation and ensure this year’s target of 20 million tons of rice is achieved.

They have also been tasked with closely monitoring developments in the regional and world rice markets to ensure there is adequate supply to meet domestic and export demand. "It is necessary to ensure national food security under all circumstances," his directive stated.

According to the agriculture ministry, 43 million tons of paddy, equivalent to 20 million tons of rice will be grown on 7.1 million hectares of lands.

By early August more than 24 million tons of paddy had harvested across the country. If there are no abnormal changes in the weather, the output will be adequate to meet domestic and export demand, according to the ministry. The estimated exports will be 7-7.5 million tons of rice.

The directive requires the Ministry of Industry and Trade to soon complete amendments to Decree 107 on trading and exporting rice.

It emphasized the need for stricter but more feasible conditions for exports and quality.

According to the Vietnam Food Association, in July rice prices rose by VND850-940 (3.57-4 U.S. cents) per kilogram from the previous month and VND1,300-1,900 from a year earlier.

Chinh called for throwing the book at speculation and illegal profiteering, which could cause the prices of rice to go up unreasonably and make the market unstable.

After India, Russia and the UAE announced their rice export bans, the price of Vietnamese 5% broken rice has increased steadily in the last two weeks to reach nearly $660 per ton, the highest level ever.

Many countries such as China, the Philippines and Indonesia are competing to buy Vietnamese rice, and their demand is 40% to several dozen times higher.

According to the Ministry of Industry and Trade, Vietnam has exported 4.83 million tons of rice so far this year for $2.6 billion.

Its main traditional markets in Asia accounted for 3.3 million tons, 36% higher than in the same period last year.

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