Doan Nguyen Duc, chairman of Hoang Anh Gia Lai Corporation, has rejected all accusations made against his company of deforesting and appropriating land in Laos and Cambodia by the NGO Global Witness, calling them "groundless."
|The summer-autumn rice crop in storage at the An Giang Rice and Food Company. The agriculture ministry plans to adjust regulations on purchasing rice for reserve. — VNA/VNS Photo Dinh Hue|
The ministry met with industry experts on Friday to discuss the plan.
At the meeting, deputy minister Bui Ba Bong said the existing rules were flawed because the Government could not control the rice-purchasing activities of enterprises, which rarely bought rice directly from farmers.
Under the ministry's draft of adjusted regulations, rice-purchasing targets would be set and support would be given to farmers and rice traders during harvest periods to boost prices and profits, Bong said.
Under the draft, annually, 1 million tonnes of the winter-spring rice crop would be bought in February and March and held in temporary reserve, while 1-1.5 million tonnes of the summer-autumn rice crop would be purchased in between July and September and held back for resale.
The draft also stipulated that farmers and rice traders should be permitted to use rice held in reserve as collateral.
However, Vo Thanh Do, deputy head of the Agro-Forestry-Fishery Product Processing and Salt Industry Department, said the draft should be flexibly applied each year.
Meanwhile, Pham Van Bay, deputy chairman of the Viet Nam Food Association, said that if farmers were allowed to hold on to small reserves of rice when prices were depressed, the draft regulation would be unnecessary.
Last month, the Prime Minister approved a plan to buy 500,000 tonnes of this summer-autumn rice crop for temporary stockpiling.
The Viet Nam Food Association (VFA) will offer the rice to food wholesalers for purchase, while the Ministry of Finance and the State Bank of Viet Nam will provide the necessary capital.
According to the agriculture ministry, rice exports fell by both volume and value, seeing a year-on-year decline of 2 per cent in volume to 4.6 million tonnes and a decline of 8.7 per cent in value to US$2.1 billion. The average export price also dropped by 6.6 per cent to $458 per tonne.
Viet Nam has set an export target of 2.1 million tonnes in the third quarter in a bid to reach its yearly target of 6.5-7 million tonnes this year.
To meet the target, rice export volumes must reach 700,000 tonnes monthly in the third quarter.
"Viet Nam has signed contracts to export 4.5 million tonnes of rice and so far, it has forwarded half of this," said Nguyen Tri Ngoc, head of the ministry's Plantation Department.