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The paradox of rice markets in north and south   2008-11-20 - VNE

The price of Taiwan- scented rice in HCM City is now costing VND 14,500/kg, which is down by VND 1,500/kg, while other types of rice have also seen decreases of VND 500-700/kg. Meanwhile, in Hanoi, the rice prices have remained at high levels.


Delta farmers flood HCM City with rice


Le, the owner of a company specializing in catering meals to workers of a garment company, in district 12, HCM City, said that one month ago, IR504 rice was sold at VND 8,000/kg. However, since the beginning of November, the rice price has decreased many times, and now costs VND 5,200/kg. Le said a lot of rice selling agents have come to the company to offer very attractive discounts and preferences.


IR504 rice has been coming from the Cuu Long River Delta to HCM City, where it is selling at VND 250,000/50 kg pack. Though IR504 is not a favorite rice, people are still purchasing the rice because it is very cheap. This has resulted in other types of rice being unsellable, and price decreases of the other products.


My, the owner of a rice husking workshop in Hoc Mon district in HCM City, said that normal rice, which was sold at VND 8,000/kg last week, has been reduced to VND 6,500/kg. The Huong Lai trademark special rice has also reduced by VND 1,000/kg in price, while other types of rice has seen price decreases of VND 500-700/kg.


Dao, the owner of a rice selling agency in Cu Chi district, also said that the rice price has been decreasing continuously over the last half month. New price levels have been reported every 2-3 days, with price decreases of VND 300-1,000/kg.


While the rice supply in HCM City has been in excess and the price has been sliding, the rice price in Hanoi remains high.


Ha, who lives in Hao Nam residential quarter, said that Thailand’s fragrant rice is now still selling at VND 18,000/kg and Vietnam’s Bac Huong trademark rice at VND 13,000/kg. “I read from the newspapers that rice is plentiful and the rice price in the south has decreased by a half. I can’t understand why rice is still so expensive in Hanoi,” Ha said.


Thuy, another housewife, said that she has bought 10kg of Thailand’s fragrant rice at VND 210,000. “I was told that the supply has been short and that suppliers do not intend to cut prices for that kind of rice,” Thuy said.


When asked about the rice supply, Nguyen Nhu Lai, Deputy General Director of the Northern Food Corporation, affirmed that rice is now in excess in the south, while it is also not lacking in the north. The corporation currently has approximately 200,000 tons of rice in stock, while the figure is estimated at 300,000 tons at the Southern Food Corporation.


Explaining the gap between the rice prices in the north and south, Lai said that it is because of the difference in the tastes of local residents. Southern residents prefer thin and dry grains, which can only be produced in the Cuu Long River Delta, while northern residents prefer round grain and glutinous rice.


Lai said that in Hanoi, expensive rice types are the ones that are originated from Thailand, South Korea, or Huong Lai trademark rice.


An official from the Southern Food Corporation also said that the price difference occurred once before in the past. At that time, the south experienced a rice fever, and southern enterprises could not seek supplies in the north because the round grain rice in the north could not meet the requirements of foreign partners. Vice versa, when the price fever occurred in the north, southern rice could not be sold in the north.

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