VN's rice supply may decrease due to drought and saline intrusion
VietNamNet Bridge - Opinions vary about the rice supply in the context of the serious drought and saline intrusion in the Mekong River Delta, the rice granary of Vietnam. 

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The Plantation Agency reported that 140,000 hectares of the 2015-2016 winter-spring crop have been affected by the drought. The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) predicted that the sowing on 500,000 hectares of rice fields, or 30 percent total area of the summer-autumn crop, would be delayed due to the drought and saline intrusion.

Meanwhile, the Vietnam Food Association (VFA) has predicted high rice output available for export in 2016, about 8.6 million tons.

Huynh The Nang, VFA’s chair and general director of Vinafood 2, one of the two major rice export corporations, confirming the figure, said that 3.87 million tons would be from the winter-spring crop, 2.89 million tons from the summer-autumn crop and 1.08 million tons from the autumn-winter crop. Besides, 750,000 tons of rice left from 2015 could also be used for export.

In 2015, Vietnam exported 8.1 million tons of rice, both through official and across-border channels. If Vinafood’s prediction is true, Vietnam would export 500,000 tons more in 2016 if compared with last year.

The Vietnam Food Association (VFA) has predicted high rice output available for export in 2016, about 8.6 million tons.

Regarding exports in the first half of this year, VFA plans to sell 3.1 million tons, not including the export volume across the border line. Of this, 1.3 million tons would be exported in the first quarter, or 100,000 tons higher than initially planned, an increase of 56 percent compared with the last year’s same period. Meanwhile, 1.8 million tons would be sold in the second quarter, the same as the same period last year.

Le Thanh Tung, a senior official from MARD, declined to comment about the high export volume predicted by MARD in the context of serious drought in Mekong Delta. However, he said the rice output in 2016 may be at the same level as 2015.

Also, according to Tung, it is impossible to declare the volume of rice for export now. The figure would only be officially made public at the conference reviewing the production of the winter-spring to be held in some days.

“It is quite a delicate matter to speak about the volume of rice for export, because this may affect millions of people,” he explained.

A local agriculture official in Mekong Delta said he is not sure about the output, but affirmed that the supply will not be as high as in previous years.

Local newspapers quoted some rice merchants in An Giang and Tien Giang provinces as reporting that the rice price has been increasing because of concerns about the short supply to be caused by the drought.


TBKTSG

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