Vietnam to host international rice congress

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History's largest international gathering of rice experts will meet in Vietnam next month to explore strategies that will help farmers feed the world's growing population.

The third International Rice Congress will bring together international leaders in rice science, rice policy makers, rice traders, and others across the industry's private and public sectors.

The event is being jointly organized by Vietnam's Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, the International Rice Research Institute and Bangkok-based Asia Congress Events Co.

Due to mounting pressure on global food production, exaggerated by poverty and climate change, the need to find ways to ensure an affordable and abundant rice population is becoming critical.

Delegates will discuss the latest rice research, future technologies, trade issues, and policies that will define the future role of rice in supporting poor rice-dependent communities.

More than half of the world's population, or more than three billion people, depend on rice as their main food source, including around 640 million Asians living in extreme poverty.

"Rice producers will play a more and more crucial role in preventing future food shortages," said Dr. To Phuc Tuong, chairman of the congress.

Vietnam, the world's second-biggest rice exporter after Thailand and the fifth-largest producer of rice, exported 5.4 million tons of rice, worth US$2.3 billion, in the first seven months of 2010, up around 8.51 percent in quantity and 12.9 percent in terms of value.

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