Vietnam's Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development said the country expects to cut fertilizer imports by 50% in 2013, slashing total nutrient imports to just 2.47 million metric tons. In 2012, Vietnam emerged as the second-biggest rice exporter in the World and the Ag boom has fertilizer producers in that nation increasing production to keep up with demand.
In years past, Vietnam has imported the bulk of its NPK from the Middle East, but will now be able to produce around 70% of the 10.5 million metric tons of fertilizer it will use domestically. The government is also considering a program that would provide credit cards from state-run Agribank to farmers to help keep credit readily available when growers make inputs purchases. Credit limits on the cards would be tied to the individual grower's land value and estimates of how much the grower will spend on fertilizer and pesticides.
The governments of India and Thailand have similar programs in place, and farmers in the Mekong Delta are reported to be already using ATM debit cards for farm-based transactions. Making the jump to credit cards for farmers would require little more than the installation of Point of Sale machines at farm supply stores. This would eliminate the need for growers to pay with cash, and would help get financial assistance directly into the hands of those who need it on the ground.
Vietnam is making efforts toward reducing its reliance on imported fertilizer. As the face of global agriculture continues to evolve, Vietnam is setting itself up to continue to ride the rice boom there, and with domestic fertilizer production on the rise, this tiny nation is well positioned to move ahead.
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