Mekong Delta struggles to save summer autumn rice

In Quang Ngai province, two fishing vessels sank and one lost contact with the mainland on September 4. The provincial borderguard command reports that there are 1,178 boats with more than 9,300 fishermen on board still operating at sea. Heavy downpours caused water levels on the Huong River to rise, exceeding the third alarm level by 0.3m on September 4. A number of roads in Hue City including Ben Nghe, Hung Vuong, Vo Thi Sau, and Chu Van An and those surrounding the Hue Royal Citadel were inundated. Rising floodwaters disrupted traffic on inter-communal roads in Quang Dien and Phu Vang districts. The flooding took a heavy toll on agricultural production and aquaculture as it prevented farmers from harvesting the summer-autumn rice crop and swept away fish breeding farms. Lashing rains also affected the harvesting of the summer autumn rice crop in Quang Ninh and Le Thuy districts of Quang Binh province. If rain continues to pour down in the next few days, most of the rice crop area will be severely submerged, said local farmers. Above-average rainfall of 100-200mm flooded many parts of Da Nang City and plunged traffic in Cam Le district into chaos. Traffic only returned to normal after 08.00 am on September 4 when floodwaters receded. Meanwhile, 200 households in Hoa Tho Dong and Hoa Phat communes were under 70cm of water. Overall, floodwaters are receding slowly and continuing to disrupt people’s daily routines. According to the National Hydro-Meteorological Forecasting Centre, at 07.00am on September 4,…... [read more]

It brought down big trees, tore the roofs off many residential houses, and submerged a lot of acreage planted in summer-autumn rice crops. It dumped between 150-260mm of heavy rains on provinces from Quang Binh to Nghe An. Heavy downpours caused water levels in major rivers in the region to rise, surpassing the first alert level at 16.00pm. It is expected that the water levels will continue to swell up and reach the second and third alert levels on August 25 when the storm moves further inland and weakens into a low pressure system. In Quang Tri province, heavy rains and whirlwinds submerged 1,000ha of rice, injured three locals, blew off 22 roofs, and sank five fishing vessels. The local administration has called in more than 2,300 vessels to return to storm shelters before Mindulle made landfall. It has also instructed relevant agencies to evacuate local residents from the low-lying areas and pump out rainwater to minimise possible losses. In Ha Tinh province, the storm, accompanied by strong winds and heavy rains, tore off many roofs and flooded rice fields. Bui Le Bac, an official from the provincial committee for flood and storm control, said an upstream rainfall of between 220-260mm is threatening the lives of people living in flood-prone areas. Provincial authorities have mobilized forces to work around the clock to evacuate people and provide necessary assistance to those in flooded or cutoff areas. In Thanh Hoa province, tens of thousands of residents in low-lying areas have moved to…... [read more]

Nalgae, the 6th of its kind to hit the East Sea this year, was downgraded after sweeping across China’s Hainan island and is heading toward Vietnam’s central coast, according to the National Hydro-meteorological Forecasting Centre. At 04.00am on October 5, the system was centred at 18.4 degrees north latitude and 108.1 degrees east longitude, about 190km off the coast from Nghe An to Quang Tri provinces. It was moving at a speed of between 39-49 km/h near its centre. In the next 24 hours, it is expected to travel between north and north-southwest and continue to weaken when it moves further inland. The system is forecast to dump heavy rains on central provinces from Nghe An to Quang Tri, said weather experts. Ha Tinh province on October 4 mobilised forces to evacuate local residents in coastal districts of Nghi Xuan, Thach Ha, Loc Ha, Cam Xuyen and Ky Anh to safer areas, and reinforce its dyke system. Soldiers and volunteers helped farmers harvest thousands of hectares of the summer-autumn rice crop in the wake of severe flooding to be caused by heavy rains.... [read more]

The Government leader unveiled the targets at a training course for key leaders from 59 provinces and cities in Ho Chi Minh City on August 13. The two-day course aims to provide the local leaders with up-to-date information about domestic and overseas issues to help them set and implement socio-economic development tasks for 2009 effectively. Mr Dung acknowledged positive signs of the national economy in the past seven months amidst temporary difficulties caused by the rising commodity prices and inflation. He noted that the agricultural sector achieved a bumper rice harvest, foreign investment capital hit a record high of US$45.2 billion and exports increased by 37.7 percent from a year ago. With drastic measures put in place, July’s imports fell significantly, helping to bring the trade deficit down to a record low. In addition, the consumer price index in July only increased by 1.13 percent – the lowest figure so far this year. To minimise the impact of the soaring price on people’s lives, Mr Dung said, the Government has issued policies to support the poor, ethnic minority people, social welfare beneficiaries, and fishermen. The PM pointed out weaknesses in the management and forecast work, which consequently drove market prices and inflation up, causing difficulties for production and people’s lives. He said that in the face of high commodity prices and inflation, provinces and cities should continue to implement the Government’s adopted anti-inflationary solutions aimed at ironing out snags for businesses to boost production and exports. Priority should be given…... [read more]

The Ministry of Industry and Trade (MIT) and the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) were assigned the task of preventing a fall in rice prices and helping farmers avoid possible losses. PM Dung also asked the State Bank of Vietnam to instruct commercial banks to ensure a good supply of capital for rice exporters. So far this year, Vietnam has exported more than 2.2 million tonnes of rice, an increase of 19 percent in volume and twice in value in comparison to 2007. MARD reported bumper harvests of spring-winter rice across the country and summer-autumn rice in the South, thus bringing the total output to around 37 million tones, a year-on-year increase of over 1 million tonnes. Taking into account its domestic consumption, Vietnam is expected to export over 4.5 million tonnes of rice this year, MARD said./.... [read more]

The price of rice in July dropped unexpectedly to US$600-700 per tonne from US$1,100-1,200 per tonne in April and May, according to the VFA.International experts attributed the shrinking rice price to the fact that many nations in the world have managed to expand their rice acreage to cope with the rising prices of agricultural products.To guarantee food security in the context of the country’s galloping inflation, the Government earlier this year set quotas for rice exports, and last month, issued a decision to set high export tariffs on rice.Under last month’s decision, this was the first time the grain had been subject to an excise (export) tax.Rice will be taxed at eight levels, calculated from the free-on-board (FOB) price. The best quality rice, valued at US$800 to US$1,300 a tonne, will be levied from between US$48.5 to US$175.7 per tonne.Rice worth US$600 to US$700 a tonne will face a US$30.3 levy, while rice worth between US$700 and US$800 a tonne will be levied at US$36.4 a tonne. Rice valued at less than US$600 per tonne will be waived from excise taxes.Based on these levels of tax, the VFA also proposes that the Government raise the bottom rate subject to excise taxes to US$800 instead of the current US$600 a tonne. Burden on farmers In addition, the association urged the Government to permit rice exports to access commercial loans in US dollars instead of VND because the interest for the VND at the moment is rather high, therefore they don’t dare…... [read more]

Domestic rice prices have risen 12 percent to hover around VND4,800-4,900 per kilo, according to the Institute for Agricultural and Rural Development Policies and Strategies. In Can Tho city, rice is sold for about VND4,600-5,100 per kilo, says Le Van Hung, Vice Director of the Municipal Department of Industry and Trade. Enterprises daily purchase 100-200 tonnes of rice on average; some even buy 300-400 tonnes, he adds. The Song Hau Food Company has stored more than 40,000 tonnes of husked rice and 5,100 tonnes of unhusked rice at VND5,850-6,100 per kilo. The company plans to buy another 40,000 tonnes of rice. The vice chairman of the An Giang provincial People’s Committee, Vuong Dinh Thanh, says that enterprises in his province are purchasing about 3,000 tonnes of rice per day to achieve the set target of 150,000 tonnes. The Tien Giang Food Company has bought 10,000 tonnes of rice at VND5,900-6,100 per kilo. Businesses in Dong Thap province also have a plan to purchase 660,000 tonnes of husked rice by the end of August. Meanwhile, the Bank for Investment and Development of Vietnam (BIDV) has pledged to provide VND1,500 billion with an annual interest rate of 18.5 percent for enterprises to buy rice from farmers. The Joint-Stock Bank for Foreign Trade of Vietnam (VCB) has committed to provide loans for businesses with an interest rate of 19.5 percent/year, while the Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (Agribank) will offer loans worth VND10,000 billion for businesses with an interest rate of 19.8…... [read more]

According to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD), Mekong Delta provinces have just completed harvesting the winter-spring rice crop, with the output reaching 9.8 million tonnes, an equivalent to last year’s winter-spring crop figure. Truong Thanh Phong, president of the Vietnam Food Association (VFA), said that Vietnam exported 2.96 million tonnes of rice in the past five months earning US$1.217 billion (FOB price), up 50.8 percent in volume and 28.2 percent in value compared to the same period last year. However, VFA sources said that by the end of May Vietnamese businesses had signed contracts with foreign partners to export 4.064 million tonnes. In May alone, the volume of rice in the signed export contracts reached 400,000 tonnes after the government had allowed businesses to sign more export deals. VFA said that without any unexpected fluctuations, Vietnam is likely to ship 5 or more million tonnes of rice abroad this year. At the conference, delegates from Mekong Delta provinces such as Dong Thap, Kien Giang, Vinh Long and An Giang said that the price of grain is currently VND500/kg lower than in early May, making it difficult for farmers to sell their product. Meanwhile, the volume of rice in stock in these provinces is also large, ranging between 70,000-200,000 tonnes each. Without specific plans, Vietnam will have a large surplus of rice as the upcoming summer-autumn rice crop is expected to generate a bumper harvest again, said the delegates. They proposed that the government establish a specific agency…... [read more]

By the end of June, the country has shipped 3.642 million tonnes of rice abroad and earned US$1.427 billion, according to the Vietnam Food Association. The signing of new export contracts has made a positive impact on the domestic rice market. The price of high-quality rice of the early summer-autumn crop in the Mekong River Delta now fluctuates at VND4,200-4,300 per kilogram. According to rice experts, about 2 million tonnes of summer-autumn rice will be reserved for export. With an additional 300,000 tonnes of high-quality rice from the winter-spring crop in stock, Vietnam is expected to fulfil the signed export contracts this year.... [read more]

Good time to export In the southern province of An Giang, farmers are selling summer-autumn rice at VND3,800-4,000 per kilo, up VND50/kilo compared to the previous week. Jasmine rice is being sold at VND4,600 per kilo, up VND300/kilo compared to the previous month. Nguyen Quang Lap, deputy head of the Planning section under the provincial department of Agriculture and Rural Development said that rice prices are increasing again. Pham Quang Dieu, director of the Information Centre for Agricultural Development (Agroinfo) said that the increase in rice prices in some Mekong Delta provinces is attributed to the fact that some enterprises are purchasing rice from farmers to fulfill previously signed contracts. According to the Vietnam Food Association, in early July, businesses delivered 3.86 million tonnes of rice worth nearly US$1.6 billion. Nguyen Trang Nhung, an expert from Agroinfo said that the rice market recovered in the last few days of the second quarter with big rice export orders being recorded. Nguyen Dinh Bich, an analyst from the Trade Research Institute said that Vietnam does not have the facilities to store rice like Thailand, so the country will be at a disadvantage if it does not export large volume of rice. Hidden dangers The development on the world rice market has shown that demands are exceeding supplies. This year, the world’s total rice export volume is likely to reach 29.7 million of tonnes while the import volume is just 26.3 million of tonnes. Mr Dieu said there would be unseen developments in…... [read more]

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