Harvesting rice in a field in Thoai Son District, An Giang Province. (Photo: Minh Anh)
NDO - For years, Vietnam has been holding a leading position worldwide in terms of rice exports. However, the value of rice export turnover is not commensurate with the potential and efforts of farmers. This is because most of Vietnamese rice is still exported as a raw material without its own brand. Recently, more and more models for high-quality rice cultivation have been appearing, which provides a great opportunity for the rice export industry to transform and build a brand name in the international market.
It is clear that building a rice brand name starts from improving the quality of rice, therefore, localities, farmers and businesses have focused on innovating from production and harvesting to processing and consumption of rice. A large number of organic and clean rice fields have been cultivated along with strong and effective linkage models.
Having spent more than half of his life attached to fields, Mai Van Dom, born in 1962 and living in Dong Thap Province, could not have imagined that one day he and his family would switch from traditional rice farming to grow high quality and clean rice through the application of science and technology. Pointing to 5ha of green rice promising a bountiful harvest, Mr. Mai Van Dom shared: “At first, when district agricultural officials came to my house to campaign for clean rice cultivation, I was hesitant because up to then I was only used to growing rice in the traditional way. But I was still determined to try.
The first crop was challenging since it required a lot of effort and high technology and I had to keep a full rice production diary. I gradually got used to it. Moreover, clean rice is less expensive, so production costs are reduced by about 200 VND/kg of rice. Now, our 5ha of rice has signed a 5-year contract for a purchasing business processing rice for export. Minus the production costs, each field (1,000m2) turns a profit of 2,5 million VND.
Mr. Phan Cong Chinh, living in Dong Thap, has 50-year experience of farming. He with his great concerns of how to produce clean rice products for consumers, since 2016, Mr. Chinh embarked on organic rice cultivation: “When visiting some of the effective organic rice farming models, it satisfies my wish to grow clean rice in a safe manner. So, I tried planting organic rice for trial and was supported by the local and enterprises. To date, we have applied organic rice cultivation for all of our 15ha of rice.
Even though it is the summer-autumn crop, the OM5451 rice fields look beautiful. It is estimated that, on average, each hectare yields 6 tons of rice. Thanks to the cost reduction when implementing the fertiliser saving model and organic rice production, clean rice is less susceptible to pests and diseases, and the resale price is high, so my family is very excited and confident in our direction. Recently, businesses have been signing purchasing contracts quite early, so the output for rice products has been completely assured”. According to Dong Thap Union of Cooperatives, there are 12 organic production cooperatives with a total area of 421ha, of which there are a total of 11 rice production cooperatives.
In Soc Trang Province, the area of high-quality and specialty rice cultivation is rising. The province has an annual cultivation area of more than 350,000 hectares with an output of more than 2 million tons of rice per year, of which specialty rice accounts for more than 51%. Thanks to the active connection between businesses and cooperatives, cooperative groups and farmers, many concentrated commodity production areas associated with consumption links have been formed in recent years, especially Hung Loi Agricultural Cooperative in Long Phu District.
In the past 4 years, the cooperative’s total contracted area for rice production and consumption has reached more than 3,900 hectares with an output of 29,500 tons of rice, mainly specialty rice. Deputy Director of the Cooperative Vo Van Thanh said: The cooperative has received support from the Sustainable Agriculture Project to build warehouses, drying systems, seed screening machines, straw collectors, etc.; cooperative members are trained in transferring science and technology, producing rice seeds that helps the cooperative's rice always achieve high quality with low production costs, increasing profits for more than 500 members.
According to the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development of Soc Trang Province, in 2021, Soc Trang had 131 turns of companies, businesses and traders participating in consumption linkages with a total area of 61,922 hectares, an increase of 68% (25,175 hectares) compared to the previous year 2020. Despite the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, the average profit in 2021 of Soc Trang farmers still reached between 8.6 to 26.3 million VND per hectare.
Rice with its own brand name “Cơm VietNam Rice” of Loc Troi Group Joint Stock Company is exported to the European market
Implementing linkages between enterprises and farmers through the cooperative model to organise the production and consumption of rice is an indispensable requirement to improve the value of rice grains; and at the same time distribute benefits harmoniously among the parties involved in the association. Currently, many localities are providing support programs and opportunities to representative organisations of farmers to approach and discuss directly with businesses, which act as a bridge between businesses and farmers to sign linked contracts in terms of rice production and consumption.
In the summer-autumn crop of 2022, a branch of Tan Long Group Joint Stock Company in Dong Thap province signed a linked contract for OM18 rice production and consumption in an area of 500 ha with an estimated quantity of 3,500 tons. Accordingly, the company provides input materials, including: rice seeds, fertilisers, pesticides, etc. through the focal point of the cooperative to redistribute to the members. These costs will be paid at the end of the service. Farmers are also supported in the rice cultivation process and instructed to record the production log to the registration of the rice growing area code.
Also with the form of association, Que Lam Group Joint Stock Company and Phu Tho Agricultural Cooperative in Dong Thap province have implemented the model of organic agricultural production associated with consumption. The company will provide input materials, consume products, and support the cost of organic fertiliser materials for the first two years at the rate of VND 5 million/ha to improve the soil and the ecosystem in the soil environment for the goal towards organic rice production. After deducting investment costs, the efficiency of this model is 4.6 million VND per hectare, higher than that of traditional farming.
General Director of Trung An Hi-tech Agriculture Joint Stock Company (Can Tho City) Pham Thai Binh said: “Trung An company has been associated with farmers since 2012. The link between farmers and enterprises is a sustainable direction in rice production according to market signals. In fact, rice output in the Mekong Delta is very large, making it difficult for consumption.
Therefore, a stable situation will help farmers feel reassured in rice production. It is also necessary for businesses to cooperate with farmers to create products that meet the requirements of the export market, thereby improving the value of rice and increasing sales, revenue and profit for both farmers and businesses".
Responding to the limitation when farmers or businesses are likely to “break the deal” in rice purchasing, Director of Ong Tho Rice Joint Stock Company Duong Thanh Thao shared: “According to the experience of the business, to avoid the supply chain of rice production and consumption breaking down, it is crucial that the company has a commitment with farmers from the very beginning and disseminates each specific issue, such as requirements on production processes, benefits of rice price, rice brand name, and benefits to the living environment of farmers when participating in the association. If the company properly and fully complies with those commitments, the relationship will be sustainable.”
ANH TUYET, NGUYEN PHONG, HUU NGHIA
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