HANOI, March 30 (Xinhua) -- The State Bank of Vietnam has asked financial institutions in the Mekong Delta region to provide rice farmers and traders with easier access to capital and soft loans ahead of the winter-spring harvest in 2023, local newspaper Vietnam News reported on Thursday.
Banks were told to simplify administrative formalities, shorten credit appraisal procedures, and diversify loan products, so that rice farmers and traders can gain capital for producing, buying, processing, and storing rice for export.
The central bank, in a move to support the economy, has recently cut policy rates and lowered the cap on interest rates for short-term loans in some priority sectors, including the rice industry.
Vietnam earned 952 million U.S. dollars from rice exports in the first quarter this year, up 30.2 percent from the previous year, thanks to significant gains in rice prices, according to the agriculture and rural development ministry.
The trade ministry said Vietnam's 5-percent broken rice prices have surpassed the selling prices of Thai and Indian rice since August, as a result of the resumption in demand from Indonesia and Bangladesh as well as global supply squeezed by India's ban on broken rice exports.
The average export price in the January-March period is estimated at 531 U.S. dollars per ton, up 9.2 percent from a year before, said the trade ministry.
Vietnam aims to export about 7 million tons of rice this year, with more than 4 million tons scheduled to be delivered by the end of the year's first half.