Monday, February 23, 2009

Rice Quality Milestone Key to Exports


TIEN GIANG — Southern Tien Giang Province’s Tu Quy rice, grown in Cai Lay District, has become the first domestic rice to meet Global Good Agriculture Practices (GAP) standards.

Totally pesticide-free, the rice grown in Cai Lay District met 211 strict assessment criteria to be granted a GAP certificate by German accreditation firm TUV SUD PSD Vietnam.

"This is an important achievement marking the end of the small-scale and backward agriculture production of farmers in the country," said Vo Tong Xuan, an expert in rice production and former rector of An Giang University.
"With this step, the country’s agriculture can move into a period of quality production, which means we can build trade marks, boost scales of production and better ensure quality."

The GAP-accredited rice has only been grown by members of My Thanh Co-operative in Cai Lay District, where the rice farmers have cultivated a total area of 11.4 ha, according to Nguyen Van Bay, chairman of the co-operative.

Shortly after the co-operative received certificates for their rice, ADC Company committed to buying all the co-operative’s rice at above-market prices, according to Bay.

Le Huu Hai, head of the Agriculture and Rural Development Department of Cai Lay District, said the co-operative in particular and the province in general had come a long way to achieve the result.

Since 2004, provincial authorities have backed programmes to improve the quality and productivity of local rice farming. Farmers were assisted in learning to apply new technology in rice production.

In 2008, the district registered to produce rice which would meet the Global GAP standard.

Farmers proposed establishing a co-operative, in which they could exchange modern technology and techniques, as well as receive help in finding the best wholesale contracts.

"Before the co-operative was set up, farmers had to find their own buyers and had less control over deciding the price of their products," said Nguyen Van Khang, director of the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development in Tien Giang Province.

"But now, things have changed. Members not only have more knowledge on production technology but are also able to better control their production costs and profits," he said.

The profits farmers make from one hectare of rice grown in accordance to the Global GAP production process can reach more than VND30 million (US$1,750) per year, while other kinds of rice promise annual profits of about VND15 million ($880), according to Truong Van Bay.

The co-operative has signed contracts to sell 50 tonnes of Tu Quy rice to ADC Company, and will sell 100 tonnes more by early March, said Bay.

Nguyen Ngoc Son, vice general director of ADC Company, said he was optimistic about the future of the rice, adding that there had been several export orders for this type of rice already.

Nice price

"The quality of this rice is quite high, it does not cause any harm to customers since it is pesticide-free and the price is very competitive," said Son.
He added that the price of the rice would be lower than VND20,000 per kg ($1.1), while the price for Thai rice was about VND20,000 per kg.

Nguyen Huu Chi, chairman of the provincial People’s Committee, decided to allocate part of the local budget to support farmers in widening the growing area Tu Quy rice, expecting to reach 100ha by the end of 2009.


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Mr Pham Van Cong,The Head of Mission and Commercial Counsellor of Vietnam Trade Office in Nigeria,Mr Okoye O. Pius - Ceo, Piskoye Nig. Ltd, Mr Kingsley Chikezie,Sec. Gen., Importers Association of Nigeria And other members at a One day Importers Forum In Lagos.

Cross Section of Attendees Including Mr Pham Van Cong, Mr Okoye O. Pius at a One day Importers Forum organized by CBN's, Technical Committee on the Comprehensive Import supervision Scheme (CISS) in Lagos Nigeria