The move comes following a recent cabinet meeting held to discuss rice exports in the context of the ongoing novel coronavirus (COVID-19) epidemic, drought, and saline intrusion in many regions throughout the nation.
Both the Ministry of Industry and Trade and the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development are to take full responsibility from the Prime Minister, whilst inspection agencies shall be in charge of the contents and data contained in reports, along with other proposals.
PM Phuc has assigned the Ministry of Industry and Trade to co-ordinate efforts with the Ministry of Finance, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, and other relevant agencies in order to rapidly carry out the implementation of plans. Moreover, national food security needs to be ensured, making it crucial to avoid rice shortages occurring in any situation, especially in the context of climate change and the COVID-19 situation.
The Ministry of Industry and Trade has been requested to work alongside other relevant ministries as a means of keeping close tabs on the rice export situation throughout April, to propose May’s rice export management plans, and to put forward a scenario which regulates the domestic and export rice market. These plans should be made whilst considering the possibility of the COVID-19 epidemic dragging out until the end of the year and should be presented to the PM before April 25.
This comes after the Ministry of Industry and Trade sent a document to the Prime Minister on April 6 regarding rice exports amid the COVID-19 epidemic, drought, and saline intrusion. The document proposed the possible resumption of rice exports and stressed the necessity of strictly controlling the volume of monthly rice exports beginning in April and May.
Approximately 800,000 tonnes of rice are set to be shipped abroad throughout April and May, a reduction of 40% compared to April and May last year, a fall of 35.7% compared to the same period in 2018, and a 21.7% drop from 2017’s figure.
With these figures in mind, the Ministry of Industry and Trade has stated its intention for 400,000 tonnes of rice to be exported in April. However, based on further developments relating to the epidemic and reports from ministries and sectors, the government leader is to consider the volume of rice exports for May.