Making news

Rice export revenue suffers from price drop

Vietnam exported 5.56 million tonnes of rice and brought home 2.43 billion USD in the first 10 months of 2019, up 6.1 percent in volume but down 9.1 percent in value over the same period last year, according to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD).

The Philippines was the largest market of Vietnamese rice with 35 percent of the market share. The country spent 733.8 million USD to purchase 1.89 million tonnes of rice from Vietnam in the first nine months of this year, 2.9 times higher in volume and 2.6 times in value over the same period last year.

According to the ministry, downward rice prices, which sometimes hit the bottom in 12 years, were the major reason behind the fall in rice export revenue in the period.

On the average, rice price in the first nine months of this year was 435.6 USD per tonne, a drop of 13.4 percent year on year.

According to Tran Cong Thang, head of the Institute of Policy and Strategy for Agriculture and Rural Development, Vietnam has faced difficulties in exporting rice to China as the neighbouring country has seen high rice stockpile and looked to diversify its suppliers.

In many years, Vietnam’s rice export to China remained stable at 2 million tonnes per year with value of about 900 million USD. But since 2018, the figures dropped considerably.

Due to stricter regulations on Vietnamese farm produce, only 20 Vietnamese firms have been qualified to export rice to China.

Meanwhile, Vietnamese exporters have faced fiercer competition in the market where requests for rice export permission from 40 Cambodian firms are being considered.

Thang also noted that a lack of new contracts and decreasing demand of the Philippines have posed pressure on Vietnamese rice prices.

At the same time, Indonesia has announced that it will prioritise Indian products, including basmati rice.

Amidst the situation, Nguyen Quoc Toan, head of the Agro Processing and Market Development Authority (Agrotrade) asserted that it is necessary to remove obstacles in export to China, while promoting other markets such as the Philippines and African countries.

The Import-Export Agency under the Ministry of Industry and Trade revealed that it has invited Chinese importers to Vietnam to seek partnership with their Vietnamese peers as part of rice trading promotion activities.

MARD Minister Nguyen Xuan Cuong stressed the need to explore new markets, especially Africa and the ASEAN, and produce products to suit these markets.

He said that 500,000 hectares of rice fields will be converted into aquatic and fruit farms.

He also underlined the need to develop processing and enhance rice value chain./