VietNamNet Bridge – Being the biggest rice exporter in the world, Vietnam’s rice production faces high risks: it imports rice varieties, fertilizer from China and exports big amounts of products to the country.


Vietnam imports Chinese varieties, fertilizer, pesticide…

According to Tuoi tre newspaper, the farmers in Dan Tai Hamlet of Thieu Chinh commune in Thanh Hoa province have been using Chinese rice varieties for the cultivation over the last 10 years. Especially, for the winter-spring crop, the coldest time of the year, the Chinese varieties are used on 80 percent of the rice growing area in the hamlet.

According to Nguyen Ngoc Duc, Thanh Hoa branch director of the Vietnam National Seed Corporation, farmers want the rice varieties which bring high yields, which explains why they prefer Chinese varieties, though it is less costly to use Vietnamese hybrid rice varieties.

Duc affirmed that the quality of the rice from Chinese varieties is lower than that from Vietnamese varieties.

The general director of the Nghe An provincial Seed Company Nguyen Ngoc Dung confirmed that farmers still buy Chinese varieties though they are more expensive than Vietnamese.

Not only relying on varieties, Vietnamese farmers have also been relying on Chinese fertilizer and pesticide. A report showed that China sourced fertilizer and pesticide amount meets 50 percent of the domestic demand.

According to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD), Vietnam imported 4.27 million tons of fertilizer in the first 11 months of the year, worth $1.57 billion, increasing by 19.1 percent in quantity and 2.5 percent in import turnover in comparison with the same period of the last year.

Of these, the imports from China amounted to 49 percent of the total fertilizer import turnover.

Of the pesticide import turnover of $689 million in the first 11 months of the year (up by 9.9 percent over 2012’s same period), the imports from China accounted for 49.7 percent.

Who lends a hand to Chinese rice varieties to flow to Vietnam? Answering the question, Vo Tong Xuan, who is believed to be the most experienced rice expert in Vietnam, pointed out that a lot of high ranking officials support the companies which import Chinese varieties to seek profits for themselves. The officials recommend farmers to use Chinese varieties instead of Vietnamese.

…and sells rice to China

China has become the biggest rice consumer of Vietnam over the last few years. Vietnam’s rice has been carried to China through both the official export channel and across the border gates.

Chair of the Vietnam Food Association Truong Thanh Phong said China had bought 3 million tons of rice from Vietnam by the end of September, the figure which represented the increase of 0.5 million tons over the volume it bought in the whole year 2012.

This means that the exports to China accounted for 50 percent of the Vietnam’s total rice exports.

Director of Gao Viet (Vietnamese Rice) Company Nguyen Thanh Long has expressed his worry that the exports to China across the border gates would lead to the exhaustion of rice for the export through official channels.

Chinese businessmen asked Vietnamese exporters to mix low quality and high quality rice, which may badly affect the Vietnamese rice brand in the long term.

Dat Viet