CAN THO – Finished rice prices in the Mekong Delta go down again after staying high for a long time, while rains and high tides adversely affect the quality of the autumn-winter paddy being harvested in Hau Giang and Can Tho and push up harvest cost.
Rice prices fall due to rain
In several Mekong Delta provinces, commercial rice prices have fallen by VND150-200 after reaching the peak of VND5,000-5,100 per kilo for the fresh IR 50404 over a half month ago.
According to the rice trading firms at Ba Dac Market in Tien Giang’s Cai Be District, the fresh paddy IR 50404 is now sold at VND4,800-4,900 per kilo and the dried one at VND5,750-5,850. However, in the localities hit by floods and heavy rains like Hau Giang and Can Tho, prices are only VND4,000-4,200 and VND5,500-5,600 a kilo for the fresh and the dried types respectively.
Giving explanation for the price drop, a representative of the rice company Tan Hong Phuc said domestic consumption was slowing down because of rains, while the demand of importing countries was weakening.
“Rice warehouses in the Mekong Delta are hardly piling up now, only 3-5 out of ten warehouses are still buying rice, with purchasing prices on the fall,” said Duong Van Men, a rice trader in Lap Vo District in Dong Thap Province.
Finished rice prices in Thot Not District, Can Tho City and at Ba Dac Market have dipped by at least VND100 per kilo against two weeks ago.
Specifically, material for the low-grade rice IR 50404 is now priced at VND7,550-7,650 per kilo, while the price is VND7,600-7,700 for the long-grain categories. Meanwhile, finished IR 50404 and long-grain rice products are sold at VND8,500-8,650 and VND8,600-8,750 each kilo respectively.
Cost surges, quality plunges
In certain provinces like Tien Giang and Long An, farmers are enjoying profits from the third rice crop. On the other hand, rice growers in Hau Giang and Can Tho are facing a lot of difficulties because of rains and rising tides.
According to the Hau Giang Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, rains and high tides have submerged more than 500 hectares of the third rice crop, including about 180 hectares of newly-sown paddy.
Similarly, Pham Van Quynh, director of the agriculture department of Can Tho City, said the city had cultivated 58,300 hectares of the autumn-winter crop, exceeding the initial plan by 3,000 hectares.
However, torrential rains have damaged 1,050 hectares of the third rice crop, affecting rice quality and incomes of farmers, Quynh stressed.
Pham Thi Mong Hoang in Can Tho’s Binh Thuy District said in addition to harvest behind schedule due to rains, it is difficult to find workers for rice harvest. As such, the cost of harvest has picked up, ranging from VND6 million to VND7 million for each hectare.
“The cost of rice production in this autumn-winter crop is higher than the previous years because of pests. Moreover, when coming to harvest, rains and high tides also cause difficulties and push up cost for farmers because they cannot take harvesters to the fields, while labor cost is rising,” Quynh said.
The Vietnam Food Association (VFA) said in the first 20 days of September, Vietnam had exported 341,000 tons of rice, worth over US$149 million. Overall, since the beginning of the year, Vietnam has exported nearly 6.2 million tons of rice, worth approximately US$2.78 billion.
The Saigon Times Daily