Vien Phu Ltd, based in Vietnam's Ho Chi Minh City, has been told its organic rice meets US requirements. The company is getting ready to start exporting the commodity by 2005.

For three years, Vien Phu has been working with farmers in Tien Giant, Ben Tre, Tra Vinh and An Giang to grow varieties of organic rice to identify the most suitable seed. "We have got this one, which is a foreign seed, supplied it and planting methods for farmers to grow on 50 hectares, and bought all the rice at VNÐ2,200 per kilo," director Vo Minh Khai said

Khai has not marketed the organic rice yet, but foreign buyers who have seen it said it can compete with Thai grade Khadak Mali 105 and meets US standards. Buoyed by this encouraging response, Vien Phu has applied to the Industrial Property Bureau for exclusive rights to the variety.