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Feb 03, 2021 / 12:04

Vietnam rice prices hit 10-year high

Vietnam is expected to export more than six million tons of rice this year.

Vietnam’s 5% broken rice price has risen to around US$500-505 per ton in early 2021, the highest since December 2011.

 Rice for exports at Can Tho province. Photo: Dung Minh

“Such a high price indicates high quality of Vietnamese rice,” said Vice Chairman of Vietnam Food Association (VFA) Do Ha Nam, pointing out growing demand for rice from major markets, including the Philippines, as a key factor for higher prices.

Since the beginning of 2021, major rice buyers of the region, including China, Bangladesh and the Philippines are importing a large amount of rice. Meanwhile, Thailand, one of the world’s largest rice exporters, could see its export volume reduced this year given an appreciation of the Bath value.

Tran Thanh Hai, deputy director of the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT)’s Import and Export Department, expected the current Covid-19 situation would be a major factor keeping high demand for rice in the global market.

Sharing the same view, General Director of Trung An Hi-tech Farming Company Pham Thanh Binh noted the outlook for Vietnam rice exports remain bright thanks to the country’s recent signing of new free trade agreements.

Under the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA), EU country members have committed to allocating tariff quota of nearly 10,000 tons of rice for Vietnam in 2021, while the UK-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (UKVFTA) would reduce import tariff for Vietnamese rice into the UK to 0%.

To ensure sustainable rice export in the future, agricultural expert Hoang Trong Thuy suggested local producers should focus on product quality with high value (aromatic rice, Japonica rice) and study the target market’s preferences to ensure efficiency in the trading process.

“Otherwise, Vietnam would face difficulties in competing with low quality rice from India or Pakistan,” added Mr. Thuy.

This year, the VFA forecast Vietnam to export more than six million tons of rice. In 2020, the country exported 6.15 million tons of rice worth US$3 billion, down 3.5% year-on-year in volume but up 9.3% in value.

As of January 18, the MoIT has issued rice export licenses for 205 traders.