Vietnam expected to export 7 million tonnes of rice this year: Ministry

Vietnam is expected to ship about 6.5-7 million tonnes of rice abroad this year thanks to the return of markets like Indonesia, Bangladesh, and China, according to the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT).

Vietnam now sees a sharp increase in rice orders from the Philippines and China.

Acccording to Pham Thai Binh, General Director of Trung An Hi-tech Agriculture Joint Stock Company in the Mekong Delta city of Can Tho, the company has signed an order to export 2,000 tonnes of rice to China and is under negotiation for another batch of 20,000 tonnes.

Statistics from the General Administration of Vietnam Customs show that in the first two months of this year, China imported 152,640 tonnes of rice from Vietnam worth 90 million USD, a year-on-year increase of 86% in volume and 120% in value.

Vietnamese rice exported to China enjoyed an average price of 589.7 USD per tonne, 18.3% higher than that of the same period last year. Chinese customers mainly imported Vietnam’s high-quality rice like fragrant rice and sticky rice with high prices.

Meanwhile, the Philippines is anticipated to import about 2.8 million tonnes of rice from Vietnam during the 2022-2023 crop because the country’s rice reserve has dropped as a result of its cultivation area damaged by storm Noru and rising fertiliser prices. Last year, the Philippines bought over 3 million tonnes of rice from Vietnam.

As India – the world’s largest rice exporter – has its cultivation area reduced by 380,000 ha due to droughts, other rice exporters including Vietnam see opportunities to be more visible in the world’s rice export map.

Besides advantages, the Ministry of Industry and Trade also pointed to challenges for the country’s rice exports.

Head of the ministry’s Import-Export Department Phan Van Chinh said Vietnam’s rice exports face high production and sea transportation costs. Moreover, Vietnamese businesses have not diversified markets and still relied on some markets like China or the Philippines. The country just exports a modest volume of high-quality rice at good prices.

Enterprises are urged to improve rice quality, strictly follow regulatios on pesticide residues, plant quarantine and origin tracibility in order to optimise preferences from free trade agreements (FTAs) that Vietnam has signed.  Under the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), the EU - Vietnam FTA (EVFTA), and the UK - Vietnam FTA (UKVFTA), Vietnam is allowed to export up to 80,000 tonnes of rice to the EU with preferential taxes.

Businesses should expand green production and material areas to have more rice eligible to enter the EU, UK, and other markets, said the ministry.

Last year, Vietnam shipped 7.1 million tonnes abroad, the highest in a decade.