The first Rice Festival for heightening the values of the age-old rice civilization and honouring rice growers has been held in the Mekong delta province of Hau Giang on November 28. In his opening speech, Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung emphasized that the Rice Festival is significant in bringing together rice producers, businesses, importers, distributors, consumers and scientists to seek opportunities for cooperation and partnership.
Binding closely with the nation’s history of construction and defence, rice has by far accounted for 90% of the output of seed crops and created jobs and incomes for around 80% of Vietnam’s households in rural areas, he said.
Accordingly, rice plays an extreme importance in ensuring the nation’s food security, PM Dung underscored, hailing Hau Giang Province for coordinating with relevant ministries, sectors and rice-growing localities, VINAFOOD II and donors to organize the festival.
The Prime Minister highlighted the fact that rice has brought Vietnam from a food-shortage country into the world’s second largest rice exporter which has for 21 years exported more than 70 million tonnes of rice to earn nearly USD20 billion for the country.
He noted that the Mekong Delta has held a crucial position in the nation’s rice production industry, as it churns out more than 50% of the total rice paddy output and 90% of rice export.
While talking about untapped potential in rice farming and production, he spoke of difficulties and challenges facing rice farmers and businesses, including natural calamities and especially climate change.
To deal with those, the Party, the State, farmers, scientists, businesses and the entire political system should work together in developing and carrying out response plans for climate change to mitigate risks and consequences to rice growers, he said.
The Rice Festival is taking place on the banks of the Xa No Canal, the place where Vietnam sent its first shipments of rice abroad hundreds of years ago.
It sees the participation of over 30 provinces and cities and 300 local and foreign companies engaging in agriculture and rice.