Vietnam can rest assured about food security and capitalize on the opportunity for rice exports

VCN - According to the assessment of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD), Vietnam is facing a significant opportunity for rice exports. Vietnam can be confident about food security and make the most of the best timing for exports.
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Vietnam can rest assured about food security and capitalize on the opportunity for rice exports
Vietnam's rice exports are benefiting both in volume and price. Photo: NT

Recommend the Prime Minister to issue directives on rice exports in the new context

According to the MARD, given the fluctuations in the rice export situation recently in the world, such as Russia officially withdrawing from the Black Sea grain export agreement, India and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) temporarily suspending rice exports, and other emerging issues, along with the El Nino phenomenon, saline intrusion, and drought adversely affecting rice production.

To assert the crucial role, maintain the position and reputation of Vietnam's rice industry in the global food supply chain, and contribute to ensuring global food security as per Vietnam's commitments, the MARD has submitted to the Prime Minister for consideration the issuance of a Directive on enhancing rice export activities in the new context.

The content of the Directive includes specific tasks for various ministries, departments, localities, the Vietnam Food Association, and focal issues that require resolute and focused direction to strengthen rice export activities in the current situation.

Specifically, the MARD will monitor, forecast, and grasp the production situation, strengthen pest control, proactively respond to adverse weather developments to secure the safety of production objectives, ensuring the target of 43 million tons of rice in 2023. Direct localities to closely follow paddy fields, organize production according to technical guidelines to ensure productivity and planned output.

Lead and coordinate with relevant agencies and localities to promptly address technical barriers, ensuring the increase in volume and expansion of Vietnam's rice export market. Direct Plant protection agencies to facilitate rice exports, minimize inspection time, and complete procedures while ensuring compliance with Vietnam's regulations and the importing country's requirements.

The Ministry of Industry and Trade continues to promote rice exports based on close monitoring and forecasting of import and export situations, consumption demands, grain prices in the region, and the global market. This will enable proactive and flexible measures to regulate business activities and rice import-export operations, ensuring enhanced export efficiency.

Furthermore, the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT) will continuously promote rice exports based on close monitoring and accurate forecasting of the import and export situation, consumption demands, grain prices in the region, and the global market. This is aimed at implementing proactive and flexible measures to regulate business operations, rice import-export activities, and ensure the enhancement of export efficiency.

Simultaneously, they will take the lead and coordinate with relevant agencies to strengthen traditional and key markets, maximizing the advantages of signed free trade agreements to increase export value. For the People's Committees of provinces and centrally-run cities, they will direct specialized agencies to closely monitor paddy fields, proactively and flexibly manage rice production to achieve and exceed productivity and output targets based on compliance with Vietnam's technical regulations and food safety standards, as well as those of the importing countries.

No worries about rice shortage

Regarding the issue of rice exports, at the regular press conference held by the MARD in July 2023, Nguyen Nhu Cuong, Director of the Cultivation Department (MARD), stated that Vietnam could fully rest assured about food security and make the best use of opportunities for exports. This is because the government's policy is to maintain the rice cultivation area without expansion. However, to seize the opportunity, the MARD has increased the rice cultivation area in the Mekong Delta from 650,000 hectares to 700,000 hectares since the beginning of 2023.

"In three months, we will have a rice crop, and by January 2024, we will have about 1.2 million tons of rice from the Winter-Spring crop. Therefore, we are completely at ease about food security and making the best use of export opportunities. The Vietnamese rice industry is facing a great opportunity. However, no matter how good the opportunity is, our most important goal is to ensure food security. Depending on the market situation and timing, the government, ministries, and sectors will flexibly regulate the balance between domestic consumption, reserves, and exports. We may export more than last year, but the extent of increase depends on specific circumstances," added Cuong.

According to Cuong, El Nino is expected to begin affecting Vietnam's weather around October 2023. Therefore, rice production this year will be fundamentally safe. However, the Winter-Spring crop of 2023 - 2024 and the year 2024 will be affected by El Nino's conditions. Compared to other rice-growing countries in the world, Vietnam is less impacted by El Nino. Up to this point, inspections in the Red River Delta, North Central region, and Southern region have shown strong rice growth and development. Unless there are unusual weather conditions or disease issues, the Summer-Autumn crop is expected to achieve record-breaking productivity. The target of over 43 million tons of rice is entirely attainable.

Addressing concerns about increased rice exports leading to domestic rice shortages and price hikes affecting people's lives, Cuong asserted that ensuring food security involved striking a balance between consumption for 100 million people, processing, and seed production, all of which require a significant increase. For example, if Vietnamese people consume around 7.5 kg of rice per month, it will increase to 9 kg per month. With the national reserve and the fact that it takes about 90 days to produce a rice crop, there is complete confidence in the food supply, spending, and taking advantage of the best export opportunities. The domestic rice supply will not be affected. However, there may be psychological issues, and moreover, this is a market mechanism matter, so prices may increase to some extent.

By Xuan Thao/ Ha Thanh

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