By Ngoc Hung - The Saigon Times Daily
HCMC – Despite the recent deadline extension by the Government, the construction of the country’s rice storehouse system for storing four million tons is falling far behind schedule due to capital shortages and site-clearance difficulties.
The Government has allowed the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development to extend the completion schedule of the plan by two years to late 2013, with an aim to build new facilities able to store 2.5 million tons of rice. However, the target to date is only 40% completed, according to the agriculture ministry.
According to the ministry, Vietnam Southern Food Corporation (Vinafood 2) has built storehouses able to stock 711,000 tons, nearly 75% of the plan assigned to this company, while Vietnam Northern Food Corporation (Vinafood 1) has built facilities to store 210,000 tons, or 80% of the scheme.
The construction of the remaining rice storage capacity has been assigned to the Mekong Delta provinces like Long An with facilities for storing 350,000 tons, Dong Thap for 310,000 tons and Hau Giang for 130,000 tons. But none of these localities have kicked off construction as of the end of March this year.
The ministry forecast the total number of rice storehouses in the Mekong Delta would reach three million tons of storage in late 2012, equivalent to 75% of the plan. This means the country’s key rice growing area will have to build new facilities for 500,000 more tons in the last nine months of the year, mostly by Vinafood 1 and 2.
Among 11 provinces in charge of developing new storage facilities for one million ton of rice, only An Giang, Kien Giang and Soc Trang have already assigned enterprises to do the job. These firms, meanwhile, have found it difficult to access bank loans despite a decision by the Prime Minister to support them in realizing the scheme.
Difficulties in the site-clearance process have also hindered related sides from implementing new rice storage facilities construction as expected, the ministry noted.
Even as many provinces have yet to choose enterprises and implementation schedules, it is really hard to turn the plan into reality by late next year. Therefore, the ministry has petitioned the Government for permitting Vinafood 1 and Vinafood 2 to develop new rice storehouses on behalf of such localities.