Jeremy Zwinger, president and CEO of The Rice Trader, the organizer of the World's Best Rice contest, announced on Tuesday morning via a press release to Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper that the recipient of the World's Best Rice 2023 title is the ST25 rice from Vietnam, developed by Ho Quang Tri Private Enterprise.
ST25 was developed by a team led by Ho Quang Cua, former deputy director of the Mekong Delta province of Soc Trang’s Agriculture and Rural Development Department.
Zwinger stressed that the contest featured around 30 samples from various countries, some of which submitted more than one sample.
The winning sample was chosen unanimously by all chefs in the contest, which was held in a blind test without any chef knowing which variety or company they were analyzing.
He added that no other rice samples from Vietnam made it to the top three finalists, which included one from Cambodia, one from India, and ST25 from Vietnam, and had an influence on the contest's outcome.
The Rice Trader had earlier announced that Vietnam was the winner of the contest, not a specific rice variety. However, all Vietnamese companies participating in the competition claimed the victory.
“We hope that the situation will find peaceful calmness, and this would turn into a united win for the country of Vietnam,” Zwinger wrote in the press release.
Subsequently, what he was seeing in the news were statements that all varieties had won the World’s Best Rice, which he said "is a fallacy and goes against our very purpose in rewarding efforts towards success."
"If all varieties have won in Vietnam, then there would be no purpose in the quality of any rice of any kind in the world,” he added.
The Rice Trader had originally planned to announce the rice variety that secured the highest title of the contest within the next six months but the announcement was expedited due to controversies in Vietnam.
He congratulated Vietnam on the great achievement, saying that the country has come a long way in its efforts to be a quality supplier, which can be seen in the major buying of quality rice from key global importers.
There are many parts that have moved this overall industry to a place where their logistics, milling equipment, testing, trade consistency, and quality control are at a level of great respect.
The contest organizer also called on participants to honor the unanimous decision of the esteemed chefs involved in the competition and requested the removal of any inaccurate claims on social media and mainstream platforms.
This is the second time the ST25 rice variety has been named the best in the world, following the first time in 2019.
The World’s Best Rice competition is part of the World Rice Conference Summit, organized in the Philippines between November 28 and 30.
Three Vietnamese enterprises participated in the competition, showcasing six distinct rice varieties, including Ho Quang Tri private business' ST24 and ST25 rice, Loc Troi Group's LT28 rice and Nang Hoa 9, and Thai Binh Seeds' TBR39-1 rice and A Sao glutinous rice, Nguyen Nhu Cuong, head of the Department of Crop Production under the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, told Tuoi Tre.