No restriction on rice exports this year: official

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Vietnam has no intention to restrict rice exports in the remaining months of 2010, a government official said Friday.

Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Cao Duc Phat made the statement in response to recent speculation that Vietnam, the world's second largest rice exporter, may put a limit on shipments of the grain on food security concerns.

The ministry said it will monitor weather conditions and other factors, making sure the country can meet both domestic and export demand for the staple.

Despite the absence of export restrictions, Phat asked local businesses to watch the market carefully and choose the right time to deliver their contracts in order to ensure profit for farmers and themselves.

According to the Vietnam Food Association, prices for the highest quality Vietnamese rice variety rose US$20 per ton from last week to reach $450. This was the third consecutive increase over the past three weeks, the association said.

Vietnam had originally planned to export 6 million tons of the grain this year. However, Nguyen Tri Ngoc, director of the Cultivation Department at the agriculture ministry, said earlier this month that the country may ship up to 7 million tons of rice this year as there was ample supply.

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