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Jun 16, 2020 / 22:34

Vietnam may become world’s leading rice exporter in 2020: Minister

Vietnam has a great opportunity to surpass Thailand in rice export this year.

Vietnam may become the world’s leading rice exporter in 2020 as shipments of the grain jumped in the first five months of this year, Minister of Industry and Trade Tran Tuan Anh told the ongoing National Assembly plenum on June 15.

 Minister of Industry and Trade Tran Tuan Anh speaks at a National Assembly gathering. Photo: Vietnamnews.

Vietnam has been confronted with not only the Covid-19 outbreak, but also with drought, saltwater intrusion, and food shortages.

However, the country's rice exports increased 31.7% in the first two months of 2020, as many countries boosted purchases and storage of the grain when Covid-19 began to hit.

As this may lead to rice shortage at home, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc initially decided to suspend rice exports until the end of May to stabilize domestic rice prices and ensure food reserves.

After re-evaluating the situation, the government leader later agreed to resume rice export in May when working with local authorities in 13 Mekong Delta localities.

As a result, Vietnam exported 3.06 million tons of rice and earned US$1.48 billion in the first five months of 2020, up 11.8% and 25.44% year-on-year, respectively, Anh said.

In May alone, rice exports reached 750,000 tons worth US$395 million, rising 47% in volume and 55.3% in value compared to April, also up 11.7% in volume and 35.7% in value compared to the same period last year, according to the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT). 

Export of rice in May also rose to the highest level over the recent years with an average price of US$527 per ton, up 5.6% against April and 21.4% against the same period of 2019. 

The export price in the first five months also increased by 13% inter-annually, reaching an average of US$485 per ton. With competitive prices and exports surging again after the quota was removed, Vietnam has a great opportunity to surpass Thailand in rice exports in term of volume this year, according to the ministry’s forecast.

The Thai Rice Exporters Association cited data of the Customs Department showing the country’s rice export in the first four months of 2020 was 2.11 million tons, worth nearly US$1.38 billion, dropping 32.1% in volume and 15.7% in value year-on-year.

Vietnam could export around 6.5 – 6.7 million tons of rice in 2020 without any significant impact on the country’s food security.

In 2019, statistics from the MoIT showed that Vietnam exported 6.37 million tons of rice, worth US$2.8 billion, up 4.2% in volume and down 8.3% in value.