President Joko Widodo, commonly known as Jokowi, has affirmed that the food supply, particularly rice, will continue to meet domestic demands. The Head of State has emphasized that the government will employ various measures, including the absorption of domestic harvest yields and imports, to ensure a stable food supply.
During a meeting with media editors and content creators at the State Palace, President Jokowi expressed the importance of addressing food security amid global uncertainties, such as international conflicts and the impacts of climate change, which have led to extreme weather events. He highlighted that countries worldwide are currently prioritizing the safeguarding of their food supplies to meet domestic needs.
Recent developments from Vietnam shed light on the matter. As the third-largest rice exporter globally, after India and Thailand, Vietnam plans to significantly reduce its rice exports to 4 million tons per year by 2030, compared to the previous year’s 7.1 million tons.
This strategic plan was revealed by the Vietnamese government through a detailed document outlining their rice export strategy. The document, dated May 26, 2023, emphasizes the objectives of increasing the export of high-quality rice, ensuring domestic food security, protecting the environment, and adapting to the challenges posed by climate change.
According to the document cited by Reuters on May 28, 2023, the anticipated consequence of this plan is a decline in rice export revenue, projected to reach $2.62 billion per year by 2030, down from $3.45 billion in 2022.
However, some rice traders based in Ho Chi Minh City perceive this strategy as overly aggressive, considering that the agricultural land dedicated to paddy farming in Vietnam has already diminished due to the effects of climate change. Some farmers have chosen to cultivate alternative crops and venture into shrimp farming. While certain paddy farmers in the Mekong Delta have converted parts of their fields into fruit plantations, such as mangoes, Balinese oranges, jackfruit, and durian, rice production remains a significant focus for many.
The Mekong Delta region has experienced a long-standing trend of shrimp farming due to rising sea levels induced by climate change, which has led to a considerable increase in salinity levels.
President Jokowi’s commitment to ensuring domestic food supply stability, combined with Vietnam’s strategic decision to reduce rice exports, highlights the importance placed on food security in the face of global challenges. These developments underscore the need for effective adaptation measures, sustainable agricultural practices, and diversified food production systems to mitigate the impacts of climate change and guarantee a reliable supply of essential commodities like rice.