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Vietnam Needs a National Rice Brand: Experts

While media outlets around the world have been quick to celebrate Vietnam as the winner of the newly inked Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP), reactions to the trade deal, which will affect 40% of the world's economy, have been mixed.

Now, Vietnamese experts are urging the country to adopt a national rice brand ahead of the TPP, reports Tuoi Tre, as the trade agreement could take away Vietnam's competitive edge in the rice market.

Though Vietnam is among the top rice exporters in the world, this tends to be a result of quantity rather than quality. Local farmers have been known to harvest larger amounts of low-quality rice or, in some cases, mix high- and low-quality rice to yield better profits. While this practice helps their bottom line, it also compromises the reputation of Vietnamese rice abroad, experts explain.

“Quality checks should be strengthened and any batch of products that fails to pass such tests should be banned from export,” Lam Tuan Anh, director of Thinh Phat, a Ben Tre-based food company, told Tuoi Tre. “This will help rebuild the reputation of Vietnamese rice.”

The other dilemma focuses on Vietnam's rice varieties. Without a well-known national brand, experts fear that Vietnamese rice exports may suffer when selling to other members of the TPP. As such, the latest step in preparing Vietnam's rice industry for the landmark trade agreement has been selecting a national rice variety.

However, deciding upon a countrywide grain is no easy task, apparently, as debates have flared in the last few weeks over which variety to use. While there are proponents for several different 

[Photo via jacqueline]

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