Vietnam rice exporters face challenges


The rice price is forecast to continue soaring in near future, buoyed by the higher demand for rice of some countries, but Vietnam is having difficulty boosting rice shipments, heard a seminar in Hanoi last week.

A study conducted by the Institute of Policy and Strategy for Agricultural and Rural Development shows there are nine million rice farming households nationwide, but around 300,000 of them account for the bulk of Vietnam’s rice export volume.

Meanwhile, the nation has over 300,000 rice milling facilities, but a majority of them are small. But in Thailand, there are a mere 1,000 rice milling plants. Besides, Vietnam has around 100 rice exporters, but a mere 22 of them focus on China, one of Vietnam’s largest rice buyers.

Industry experts said these two hindrances had led to the global market share of Vietnamese rice shrinking. Statistics of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development show the country’s rice shipments last year dropped 27% in volume and 23% in value against 2015.

Vietnam has seen gradual declines in rice exports to China, European Union, Middle East, and Sub-Saharan Africa.

Despite the decrease in rice exports, local enterprises have shown little or no interest in the domestic market.

Vietnamese rice producers have not been able to develop premium rice brands, according to Sergio René Araujo Enciso, an economist from the Trade and Markets Division under the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.

Key importers of Vietnamese rice products have adopted food security policies. China, for instance, is buying rice from different countries, said Pham Kim Dung, the study’s lead researcher.

The World Bank and the International Monetary Fund forecast that rice prices might inch up in the short term as some countries are stocking up on rice, such as Malaysia with 950,000 tons and Bangladesh with 600,000 tons.


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