Winter-spring rice crop faces poor consumption

Provinces in the Mekong Delta have begun to harvest winter-spring rice crop with a total area of 1.6 million hectares; however, the price of paddy has continuously dropped and consumption is sluggish, raising concern among farmers.
Winter-spring rice crop faces poor consumption
On February 17, traders said that the price of fresh regular paddy fell to VND4,300 per kilogram and that of fresh long-grain paddy was at VND4,800-4,900 per kilogram, an average decrease of VND1,000 over the same period last year.
‘Although the price of paddy declines, traders purchase rice paddy perfunctorily instead of heavily as rice export remains difficult and firms have not made many orders yet. Generally, the situation is currently gloomy though it is just the beginning of the harvest of the winter-spring crop’, said Mr. Huynh Phu Loc, a trader in Dong Thap Province’s Lai Vung District.
Meanwhile, after lunar New Year, several paddy fields in Dong Thap, An Giang, Vinh Long, Hau Giang, Kien Giang and Can Tho have been ready for harvest but harvest progress is extremely slow due to poor consumption.
Mr. Lam Van Tham in Kieng Giang Province’s Giong Rieng District said that at this time of the year, there are usually lots of traders going to the field to buy fresh paddy with prices ensuring a profit of VND15-20 million per hectare for farmers. However, it is not the same this year. Farmers have not seen any traders though rice paddies are ready for reaping. Farmers are likely to earn less this crop because of a drop in paddy price, slow consumption and increasing expenses caused by pests.
Amid the difficult situation, cities and provinces in the Mekong Delta immediately had a meeting with firms, relevant authorities and cooperatives in order to seek solution to resolve the situation. According to authorities, rice export has been facing difficulties since the beginning of this year as importers have not made many orders yet. In addition, the price of rice is low, affecting domestic consumption of rice.
In Dong Thap Province, this winter-spring crop, farmers have grown rice on an area of 200,000 hectares which will be fully harvested from now to March. Therefore, consumption is extremely urgent. The provincial rice association proposed the provincial People’s Committee to ask the Government to buy rice for temporary stockpile so as to boost consumption. Moreover, banks should increase credit limit to help firms with capital to buy rice for farmers.
Mr. Nguyen Thanh Hung, vice chairman of the provincial People’s Committee instructed relevant industries to run rice drying system at full capacity to help farmers with temporary storage demand and assist firms to promote purchase and banks to create favorable for firms to access capital easily.
The Vietnam Food Association said that in the first half of January this year, Vietnam exported around 132,000 tons of rice, down 31 percent over the same period last year. Export price also retreated from US$400 per ton to $340-350 per ton.

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