Vietnamese rice industry needs technology in preservation and processing
The application of advanced technology in preservation and processing is the most important factor in Vietnam’s rice value chain, said Nguyen Hong Son, Director of the Viet Nam Academy of Agricultural Sciences.
This field had the potential for strong development in the domestic rice production industry, especially enterprises in the domestic rice production chain, he said.
The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) had employed specific programmes and action plans to attract investment in this field, especially investment opportunities from free trade agreements that Viet Nam has signed with other countries.
"Foreign rice processing and preservation technology enterprises are expected to pay more attention to the Vietnamese market and cooperate with domestic manufacturing enterprises to promote technology to increase efficiency and quality in local rice production," Son said at the annual Viet Nam Rice Value Chain Development Workshop 2019 held in Can Tho on September 19.
Nguyen Chanh Trung, the Tan Long Group’s Managing Director in rice and rice factory, said in its rice production chain, it cooperated with farmers in production and then purchased rice from farmers. After that, it used modern technology and machines for drying and storage of rice, meeting the requirements to have high quality products for high-demanding markets such as South Korea, as well as the domestic market.
The company also guided the farmers to gradually switch from the old farming model to organic rice production, Trung said.
Rice is a key export product of Viet Nam, with export volume ranging from 4.9 to 7.7 million tonnes per year. The export value of rice has always reached over $2 billion per year and it even reached a record of over $3 billion last year, according to MARD.
Now, Viet Nam is the third largest rice exporter in the world, accounting for about 15 per cent of the total rice export volume. Vietnamese products have been exported to about 150 countries and territories.
Tran Thanh Hai, Deputy Director of the Ministry of Industry and Trade’s Import and Export Department, said in the first eight months of this year, Viet Nam's rice export volume reached 5.4 million tonnes, up 0.1 per cent but the rice export value dropped by 15 per cent year on year to $1.96 billion.
Viet Nam’s rice exports to China decreased by 63 per cent in volume and 67 per cent in value. In addition, the rice exports to other countries also saw strong reductions, such as Indonesia (down 96 per cent), Bangladesh (down 75 per cent) and Algeria (down 55 per cent).
However, the Philippines market has emerged as a bright spot in Viet Nam's rice export activities to help the national total rice exports rise in the first eight months.
In the January-August period, Viet Nam exported nearly 1.5 million tonnes of rice to the Philippines, an increase of more than 200 per cent year on year, accounting for 37 per cent of Viet Nam's rice exports.
This year, the export value of fragrant rice, specialty rice, and organic rice has increased in number, increasing the value of export rice.
However, the application of advanced technology in rice production, processing and preservation is still very limited for the domestic rice production chain. This has created a significant impact on the quality and price of Vietnamese export rice compared to similar products of major rice exporting countries such as Thailand and India, according to MARD.
"In recent years, many businesses have invested in high-quality products from design and appearance to good quality of rice as well as maintain high quality of rice during storage and trading. However, the number of producers doing that is not many compared to the large rice export volume," Son said.
Therefore, the application of advanced technology in preservation and processing is very important in Viet Nam's rice value chain to increase to meet the strict requirements of major rice export markets, he said.
Do Ha Nam, Vice Chairman of Viet Nam Food Association, Chairman of Board of Directors and General Director of Intimex Group said to have sustainable development in Viet Nam's rice production industry, it was necessary to choose high-value products like Jasmine rice. On the other hand, local rice producers needed to renew technical production and equipment to not lose the market. They also must manage food safety and hygiene, chemical products and post-harvest preservation to overcome the increasing technical barriers of developed countries.
At the seminar, many businesses introduced global advanced technologies in rice production and processing as well as practical experience in applying technology to rice production and processing stages.
The Cuu Long (Mekong) Delta, the country’s rice granary, will see summer – autumn rice output increase by 150,000 tonnes this year, the Plant Cultivation Department has estimated.
Instead of continuing to be an easy-to-be-please rice importer, China has been reducing imports, showing its ambition to become an exporter.