Vietnam’s ST24 rice variety was recognised as the World's Best Rice this year.
Agricultural engineer Ho Quang Cua, (third from left) receives the prize of the World's Best Rice 2019
The World's Best Rice 2019 contest was held from November 11-13 in Manila, the Philippines, by rice industry analysts The Rice Trader. This is the 11th annual event of its kind.
The ST24 rice variety was created by Agricultural Engineer Ho Quang Cua, who was former deputy director of Soc Trang Province’s Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, and his co-workers.
The competition’s panel of judges comprises famous international food experts, culinary consultants and acclaimed chefs. They use four criteria when judging; fragrance, flavour, glutinous texture and appearance. The judges blind-tasted the rice and award them points with no prior knowledge of their origin or type.
The Vietnamese rice topped this year’s contest, followed by a Thai variety.
The ST24 rice variety, which is seen as a specialty of the Mekong Delta province of Soc Trang, was ranked first in the Vietnamese best rice contest which took place on November 4.
It can yield over five tonnes per hectare and has the aroma of pineapple.
The World's Best Rice took place for the first time in 2009 in Cebu of the Philippines and has rotated through countries that grow rice as a central crop.
Vietnam Rice Festival to take place in Vinh Long in December
The fourth Vietnam Rice Festival will take place in the Mekong Delta province of Vinh Long on December 13-19 with a view to promoting agro-economy and rice trade in domestic and foreign markets.
The information was revealed by Deputy Director of the provincial Department of Industry and Trade Truong Thanh Su at a press conference in Vinh Long on November 12.
A series of activities will be held at the festival, including a trade fair with 800-1,000 pavilions, a rice cooking contest, and an art photography competition on the theme of rice fields and rice cultivation.
Workshops on important issues related to agricultural development will also be held as part of the event, focusing on legal framework and policies for agricultural cooperatives, agricultural vocational training, conditions for developing agro-economy and rural areas, support for rice growers, and investment in processing and trading farm produce.
The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development and the Vietnam Farmer’s Union will jointly organise a ceremony to honour outstanding individuals and collectives in implementing the target of developing 15,000 effective cooperatives and associations of agricultural cooperatives.
In the first 10 months of 2019, Vietnam exported 5.56 million tonnes of rice worth 2.43 billion USD, up 6.1 percent in volume but down 9.1 percent in value year-on-year./.
Rice export revenue suffers from price drop
Vietnam exported 5.56 million tonnes of rice and brought home 2.43 billion USD in the first 10 months of 2019, up 6.1 percent in volume but down 9.1 percent in value over the same period last year, according to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD).
The Philippines was the largest market of Vietnamese rice with 35 percent of the market share. The country spent 733.8 million USD to purchase 1.89 million tonnes of rice from Vietnam in the first nine months of this year, 2.9 times higher in volume and 2.6 times in value over the same period last year.
According to the ministry, downward rice prices, which sometimes hit the bottom in 12 years, were the major reason behind the fall in rice export revenue in the period.
On the average, rice price in the first nine months of this year was 435.6 USD per tonne, a drop of 13.4 percent year on year.
According to Tran Cong Thang, head of the Institute of Policy and Strategy for Agriculture and Rural Development, Vietnam has faced difficulties in exporting rice to China as the neighbouring country has seen high rice stockpile and looked to diversify its suppliers.
In many years, Vietnam’s rice export to China remained stable at 2 million tonnes per year with value of about 900 million USD. But since 2018, the figures dropped considerably.
Due to stricter regulations on Vietnamese farm produce, only 20 Vietnamese firms have been qualified to export rice to China.
Meanwhile, Vietnamese exporters have faced fiercer competition in the market where requests for rice export permission from 40 Cambodian firms are being considered.
Thang also noted that a lack of new contracts and decreasing demand of the Philippines have posed pressure on Vietnamese rice prices.
At the same time, Indonesia has announced that it will prioritise Indian products, including basmati rice.
Amidst the situation, Nguyen Quoc Toan, head of the Agro Processing and Market Development Authority (Agrotrade) asserted that it is necessary to remove obstacles in export to China, while promoting other markets such as the Philippines and African countries.
The Import-Export Agency under the Ministry of Industry and Trade revealed that it has invited Chinese importers to Vietnam to seek partnership with their Vietnamese peers as part of rice trading promotion activities.
MARD Minister Nguyen Xuan Cuong stressed the need to explore new markets, especially Africa and the ASEAN, and produce products to suit these markets.
He said that 500,000 hectares of rice fields will be converted into aquatic and fruit farms.
He also underlined the need to develop processing and enhance rice value chain./.
Vietnamese rice yet to be exported under national brand
Purple rice is displayed at the third Rice Festival in Long An Province. Vietnamese rice has yet to be exported under the national brand
Nearly a year after the logo for Vietnamese rice was introduced, no local rice shipments have been exported under the national brand.
At a press briefing today, November 12, to introduce the fourth Rice Festival in the Mekong Delta province of Vinh Long, Nguyen Anh Dung from the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development’s Farm Produce Processing and Market Development Department told the Saigon Times that before introducing the logo in December last year, the ministry had held a contest to choose the logo.
The ministry later registered the logo with the Madrid System, a system for the registration of worldwide trademarks.
However, the process is complicated. The ministry and the Vietnam Food Association are still preparing the paperwork, so the logo has yet to be used.
The fourth Rice Festival was scheduled to take place from December 13 to 19 in Vinh Long Province. The event is expected to feature 800 booths. By November 10, exhibitors had registered for 443 booths.
At the festival, the organizer will also host specialized seminars on the legal framework and policies for developing cooperatives; conditions needed to develop the agriculture sector, focusing on rice; policies that support rice growers; and rural development.
The event will also include rice and rice-based dish cooking contests.
The average price of rice exports during the first nine months of the year suffered a sharp decline of 13.4 per cent to US$435.6 per tonne, according to the Agro Processing and Market Development Authority.
Vietnam and Thailand are two major rice exporters to the Hong Kong market, but Vietnamese rice prices are 50% lower than those offered by its rival, leaving wide room for growth for Vietnamese rice exports to the former British territory.