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Rice crop fares well despite last year’s harsh winter spell

   6/19/2008

Northern Viet Nam had a big winter-spring rice crop despite the record cold spell in January, according to the deputy director of the Agriculture and Rural Development Ministry’s Cultivation Department, Phan Huy Thong yesterday. Farmers managed to plant up to 98 per cent of their paddy fields – about 1.1 million hectares. In winter, a 38-day-long cold spell damaged more than 220,000ha of established crops and 18,000ha of rice seedlings. Thong said most farmers harvested 6 to 6.5 tonnes of rice per ha. Lower yields of 4.5-5 tonnes were recorded on 20 per cent of total crop area. "The total output of winter-spring rice crop in the north was about 6.5 million tonnes, only 200,000 tonnes lower than the previous winter-spring crop, which was the biggest crop in a decade," said Thong. "The winter-spring rice crop in the Cuu Long (Mekong) River Delta reached a high of 6.6 million tonnes, an increase of 550,000 tonnes over last year, Thong said. "It could meet all the delta’s consumption demands for the year, leaving an excess of 3.8 million tonnes." South central Viet Nam, the only area with a lower-than-expected crop, produced 820,000 tonnes, a decrease of 120,000 tonnes compared to last year. This was blamed on continuous flooding in the area. The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development has now asked the Government to raise the rice-export quota to four million tonnes instead of the planned 3.5 million tonnes. In the fourth quarter, if rice production continues to run smoothly, Viet Nam should be able to export even more than expected. Earlier this year, the Government restricted rice exports to 3.5-4 million tonnes to ensure sufficient domestic supplies. So far this year, Vietnamese enterprises have exported about 2.7 million tonnes of rice worth a total value of US$1.15 billion. This is an increase of nearly 22 per cent – and double the value of exports in the same period last year.

VNS
6/19/2008

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