Stricter requirements set on rice mills
By Ngoc Hung - The Saigon Times Daily
HCMC – Rice mills must set up laboratories in the coming time to meet new criteria for processing rice for export, a move by an agency under the agriculture ministry to cut down the number of players in the sector.
In order to get qualification certificates for processing rice for export, rice mills must establish laboratories equipped with specialized analytical and experimental devices to classify paddies.
In addition, processing facilities are required to have grinding and milling lines with a minimum capacity of 10 tons per hour, according to the draft regulations prepared by Department of Processing and Trade for Agro-Forestry-Fisheries Products and Salt Production under the ministry.
A representative of an enterprise said with the earlier release of Decree 109 on rice trading, policymakers wanted to reduce the number of rice exporters to around 100, or half of the previous number. However, 150 enterprises have satisfied the requirements of the decree.
Therefore, the imminent issuance of the new standards for the food sector is aimed at nothing other than cutting the number of qualified rice exporters to 100, as the new regulations require enterprises to invest more, the source said.
According to Cuu Long Milling Enterprise under the Food Company of HCMC Ltd. (Foocosa), a color separation machine to improve the quality of finished rice products, especially fragrant rice and high-grade rice, together with a rice mixing system, costs more than VND2 billion.
Do Van Nam, director of the agro-forestry-fisheries department, declined to give comment on the draft regulations prepared by his agency.
The draft standards also demand rice mills to have bathrooms with sinks and sanitary equipment, located in convenient places away from the production areas. More specifically, enterprises must set up at least one bathroom for every 25 workers.
In explanation for this requirement, the agro-forestry-fisheries department said the inspectors had found that many processing facilities in the Mekong Delta lacked bathrooms for workers.