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Jan 16, 2022 / 13:43

Vietnam's rice exports set for strong rise in 2022

Vietnam would be the third-largest rice exporter in 2022, behind India and Thailand, with shipments of around 6.4 million tons.

Growing global demand for food and the ease of business restrictions in Vietnam are the premises for a booming year of the country’s rice exports.

 Packaging rice for export at Trung An Hi-tech Farming Company. Photo: Vu Sinh

Amid severe Covid-19 impacts, Vietnam’s rice exports in 2021 still recorded a 5% rise year-on-year, earning around US$3.27 billion. Meanwhile, the shipment of several large rice contracts right in early 2022 bodes well for local traders.

Pham Thai Binh, general director of Trung An Hi-tech Farming Company, said 11,111 tons of rice will arrive at Ulsan port, South Korea, by January 22, which marks the firm’s fulfillment of the first export order of the year.

On November 17, 2021, Trung An won a rice contract of 15,000 tons to the South Korean market, scheduled to arrive at Gwangyang port from March to June 2022, Binh said.

“Trading activities even intensify during the pandemic due to growing demand for food consumption and stockpiling, for which rice is one of the priorities,” he said.

Meanwhile, Nguyen Quang Hoa, director of Duong Vu, said the company is rushing to deliver over 10,000 tons of rice to China on schedule.

“We plan to ship rice immediately after the Lunar New Year,” Hoa said.

The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) in a report last September predicted global rice trading volume in 2022 is estimated at 48 million tons, going up by 0.4 million tons from its previous forecast.

In this context, Vietnam is set to be the third-largest rice exporter, behind India and Thailand, with the shipment of around 6.4 million tons in 2022.

Commenting on Vietnam’s rice export prospects, Director of Long An Food Company Dang Thi Lien noted in addition to rising demand for food globally, Vietnam’s rice products have become the favorite for customers in many countries.

“Besides major markets such as the Philippines, China, Malaysia, US, or South Korea, the EU should be the one to take into account in 2022 thanks to the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA),” Lien said.

Under the deal, the EU is committed to allocating a quota of 80,000 tons of rice per year for Vietnam with preferential import tariff, which puts Vietnamese rice traders at a greater advantage compared to other countries, she said.

Quality is key

Deputy Director-General of the Import-Export Department under the Ministry of Industry and Trade Tran Quoc Toan informed Vietnam’s rice production development strategy until 2030 sets the target to shift to high-quality rice exports rather than just focusing on increasing trading volume.

“The goal would help speed up the restructuring process of rice production to better meet rice import requirements in developed countries,” Toan said.

For the EU market, Toan said Vietnam’s rice export prices rose by US$10-20 per ton since the EVFTA became effective.

“High rice price would partly offset lower export volume due to the pandemic, which is essential given the uncertainties surrounding the Covid-19 situation in 2022,” he said.

Toan expected local rice producers to continue focusing on applying science technology in production and promote hi-tech farming for greater product quality.

Sharing Toan’s view, Binh from Trung An Company noted the quality was key for buyers to turn to Vietnamese rice products, despite its higher prices compared to those from Thailand, India, or Pakistan.

“Quality plays the key role for sustainable exports, and should be the way forward for local firms to build their brands in the global market,” Binh said.