Rice production in Vietnam

Rice production in Vietnam  is important to the food supply in the country and national economy. Vietnam is one of world’s richest agricultural regions and is the second-largest (after Thailand) rice exporter worldwide and the world’s seventh-largest consumer of rice. Vietnamese eats rice since was born till die. when they die, bow of rice place on their altar. Rice has dominated not only in every physical day life but also in spiritual life. Parent teach children from one to other generations that “a single of gold rice grain comes out from nine drops of sweat”

Vietnamese legend for rice

According to the folk legend, in ancient times, rice was not produced but was a gift from God of heaven. Rice would appear from the heaven in the form of a large ball in every house. On one occasion, a lady was sweeping the floor of her house as ordered by her husband to welcome the rice ball. The large rice ball landed in the house when the lady was still sweeping and it hit the broom and then broke into many pieces. Since then people of Vietnam had to work hard with their hands to grow rice.

Rice production in Vietnam and history:

Rice cultivation in Vietnam has a long history compared to rice cultivation in Asian countries. According archeological materials in China, India, Vietnam … Rice was present from 3000 – 2000 BC. Our ancestors were domesticated wild rice into rice cultivation and development of rice cultivation to achieve progress today.

Before 1975, rice area in two northern delta and southern region is 1.8 million and 2.7 million hectares and produced from 2.4 to 3 million tons a year. During this time there weremainly old grain, one corp per year, easy to fall, low productivity.

From 1979 to 1985, rice production increased from 11.8 to 15.9 million tons year , however, people of Vietnam were still in shortage of food because of border war, paying debt and ineffective management under cooperative farm of state economy.

 Since the renovation (1986) to now, Vietnam has made remarkable progress in rice production, bringing our country from a country where regularly under food shortage was not only enough food to ensure the domestic needs but also exported to other countries from 3-4 million tonnes / year, ranking second in the world for the export of rice.

Rice Growing Areas:

The whole country, total paddy land area is 3.2 million hectares and land for water rice cultivation is 3 million hectares. However, paddy cultivation area is decreased from year to year compared to other cultivating plants such as coffee, tea or aquaculture. Rice cultivating lands converted to golf play ground is another main problem in Mekong delta.

Red River Delta – a wet rice civilization was formed thousands of years, including 11 provinces with an area of about 15,000 km2 are natural deposition of sediment by two major rivers are the Red River and Thai Binh. Red river delta has 1.4 million hectare of rice land. Red river delta is less productive than Mekong delta because of intensive farming

 Mekong Delta is about 36,000 km2, is a fertile land, favorable climate. This is the biggest rice bowl of Vietnam with the total paddy land is 1.8 million hectare. Mekong is the most important activity of rice production, especially high-quality rice for export. Although only 12% cultivating land of the country, the Mekong Delta is home to 22% of the population of the country, providing 40% of the total national food production, and more than half of the total rice production and rice exports made here.

Rice Growing Process

Vietnamese old saying: Having a good crop, Vietnamese should prepare well four elements: water-fertilizer-hard work-good seed, we can describe process of growing rice as below:

1. Preparing the planting ground

  • Tilling for soil exposure at least 10-15 days before sowing for sanitation field thoroughly  is essential for good growth. The tilling and drying soil for  purposes of uprooting grass and , reducing of organic poisoning.
  • Strengthen the system of canals, irrigation fields, widened the channel so that when necessary, against drought or flooding, water will be pumped promptly.

2. Planting season:

  • Winter-Spring crop from 15 October – 15 December
  • Summer-Autumn crop from 15 April – 15  June
  • Additional crop (if possible)  sowing from 15/July-15 September

3. The amount of seed needed for sowing:

  • Sowing of the seed should 80-100kg seed per hectare, remember spare sowing is better than dense sowing, it reduces plant fall and easy to kill grass and fertilize later.

3. Rice seed before sowing:

Soaking rice seed into water 24-36 hours and then wash rice seed in liquid containing 15% salt (15 kg of salt mixed in 100 liters of water), stirring vigorously to dissolve the salt. Handling this step fast in 10-15 minutes (dismiss empty grain and grass seeds out from rice seeds) then brought rice seeds treated with water several times and keep grain in moister.

4. Rice development age:






Period 10 days 20 – 30 days 28 – 30 days 28- 30 day

5. Water Management

  • After sowing (row seeding) keep the ground drained and leave water only enough moisture
  • Get enough water to fertilize at very early stage (70-10 days after sowing)
  • From 10 to 18 days to retain water in rice fields from 1 to 3 cm.
  • From 18-22 days, hold high the water level must not exceed 5 cm.
  • When more than 2 / 3 rice fields turn yellow  (about 40-45 days after sowing), then put water into rice fields.
  • Keep water in the rice paddies at 5cm from mature to fruitful period.
  • Drain before harvest from 5-7 days (for high field) and from 10-15 days (for low fields) to promote ripening and dry fields and harvest easier.

6. Harvest time:
Harvesting on 28-32 days after flowering or when 85-90% of the rice seed was ripe. If cut early or delayed increase the loss rate of rice. Harvesting by hand or by machine.

7. Preserving after harvest

Dry grain under sun for few days, preserve rice in a dry and airy place. If the preservation period of less than 3 months, grain moisture should reach 14% -15%. If the storage more than 3 months, the humidity should be below 14%.

Problem of rice production in Vietnam today:

There are three main problems which decide Vietnam rice in the world market: Quality-Preservation-Market Research

Viet Nam needs to focus on improving post-harvest practices in order to gain greater benefits for farmers and make Vietnamese rice more competitive in the world market as said by experts.

Previously, Thailand accounted for 80 per cent of the rice imported by Hong Kong, but since 2010, this has dropped to 60 per cent. The market share of Vietnamese rice, meanwhile, has increased to 18 per cent from three per cent. One of the reasons for the growth is the improvement made in rice quality in Vietnam.

Storage and drying are the two weakest activities in Mekong Delta. There was a need to train various parties in the rice supply chain and other supporting agencies in post-harvest technologies to reduce post-harvest loss and improve rice quality.

Rice quality also decides the income of both farmers and traders, we noted that Vietnamese rice is always cheaper than Thai rice for the same variety. The price of Viet Nam’s rice is US$30 to $100 per tonne cheaper. According to International Rice Research Institute’s Irrigated Rice Research Consortium, which is implementing a model applying Good Agricultural Practices. Vietnam has great potential if implementing a new model of good agriculture practice which recently applied in An Giang Province.

In order to produce premium quality rice, we need to establish better linkages between farmers, service providers, traders and others to facilitate adoption of best practices for production and post-harvest management of rice. Production efficiency lays the basis for improvement in rice quality. In the past, a farmer would produce high quality rice, and the neighbouring farmer would produce ordinary rice, and the buyer would buy both and mix it. It seriously harm Vietnam rice brand.

In summary, Vietnam is proud of a rice country but Vietnamese farmers have lowest income compared to other rice exporting country! The main reason is bad marketing domestic and international net work. Farmers are working hard and have to sell their produces with low prices. The government doesn’t support farmer adequately in forecasting and planning for the  rice market. A side from that, government also lacks of educational program and modern infrastructure of transportation, preservation rice produces before exporting.

Thank you for your reading!

Hong Duc


About Insiderjourneyguidehelpdesk

Local guide manager-Vietnam
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One Response to Rice production in Vietnam

  1. Its like you read my mind! You seem to know so much about this, like you wrote the book in it or something.
    I think that you can do with some pics to drive the message home a little bit, but other than that, this is great blog.
    An excellent read. I will definitely be back.

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