Vietnam’s rice exports decline in first quarter

Vietnam’s rice exports in the first quarter of 2012 show a considerable decline compared to the same period last year, said Pham Van Bay, deputy chairman of Vietnam Food Association at a meeting held on April 9 in Ho Chi Minh City.

Farmers in Long An Province harvest rice for export (Photo:SGGP)

Vietnamese rice export companies dispatched nearly 1.1 million tonnes of rice in the first quarter of 2012, a decrease of 41 per cent in volume and more than 40 per cent in value.

However, the number of contracts for rice exports increased in March. Rice companies signed contracts to export 550,000 tonnes of rice in the first 20 days of March, an increase of 12 per cent over the same period last year, mainly to Asian markets like China, Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines.

Bay said that Vietnam was selling 5 per cent broken rice for US$450 per tonne, 25 per cent broken rice for $425 per tonne, increasing from $15 to $25 per tonne compared to early March.

China alone has imported some 770,000 tonnes of rice, mainly the high-quality 4 per cent broken rice, through official channels in Vietnam.

Besides this, some 500,000 tonnes of Vietnamese rice, over half of it lower-quality rice, has been sold to China through cross-border trade.

The high demand for rice from China has helped boost export of rice from Vietnam, Bay said, adding that increase in imports from China have compensated for the 25 per cent decrease in rice exports to African markets.

He said there is stiff competition for low-priced rice from India and Myanmar, and for high-priced rice from Thailand, so Vietnam should focus on medium-priced rice for now.

Meanwhile, Vietnam’s Deputy Minister for Agriculture and Rural Development has instructed VFA to start a campaign to build an international brand name for Vietnamese high quality rice.

He also said that the country has enough supplies to export 7.3 million tonnes of rice this year, and warned that farmers would be adversely affected if the country fails to meet the export target of 6.5 million tonnes in 2012. He stressed that the Agriculture department must dissuade farmers from growing low-quality IR 50404 rice.

VFA members have bought some 700,000 tonnes of rice under a   plan to buy one million tonnes for stockpiling. The plan will run until April 30, he added.

By C.Phien – Translated by T.Huong

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