>> Rice export sets records in volume and value
Vietnam, the world's second-largest rice exporter, plans to stockpile 1 million tonnes of rice to help sustain the market for farmers amid low prices, authorities said Friday.
Truong Thanh Phong, chairman of Vietnam Food Association said the plan was agreed between the association and its 60 members Thursday.
Exporters have not been eager to buy rice from farmers because they have signed few contracts with importers, so the price of rice has been low as farmers in the Mekong Delta begin harvesting.
Under the association's plan, exporters would begin buying and the price would increase.
Those companies are to offer prices that would allow farmers to make a profit of at least 30 percent, Phong said.
Vietnam's biggest rice importer, the Philippines, has not signed any contracts with Vietnam this year. However, the country, which has imported 1.5 million to 2 million tonnes of Vietnamese rice in recent years, was expected to again buy at least 1.5 million tonnes this year, the association said.
Instead of focusing its exports on the Philippines, Vietnam has signed contracts with Indonesia and Bangladesh, which allowed Vietnam to export 485,000 tonnes of rice in January, up 36 percent from the same month last year, the association said.
Phong reassured companies that the price of rice this year would be higher than last year so companies should be confident to stockpile the crop.
In 2010, Vietnam exported 6.75 million tonnes of rice for 3.23 billion dollars, second only to Thailand.
The Vietnamese government plans to export 6 million tonnes of rice this year, a little bit lower than last year because stockpiles are lower than last year.