Rice is one of the rare commodities that is not being seriously affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, with both export volume and value increasing in the first two months of 2020.
Vietnam is enjoying strong growth in both rice export volume and value, and more export chances are still ahead as some free trade agreements (FTAs) have come into force and consumers around the globe are boosting purchase to ensure food security amid the COVID-19 outbreak.
Vietnam exported about 4.54 million tonnes of rice for nearly 2 billion USD in the first eight months of this year, up 0.3 percent in volume but down 14.9 percent in value from a year earlier, according to the Agro Processing and Market Development Authority (Agrotrade).
Vietnam shipped abroad 264,000 tonnes of rice in October this year for 136 million USD, pushing the total figures so far this year to 5.2 million tonnes worth 2.6 billion USD, up 1.7 and 14.1 percent year-on-year.
Rice is one of Vietnam's major exports and Vietnam has maintained the position as one of the world's top ten biggest rice exporters for many years.
The prospect of the Vietnamese rice export sector later this year is forecast to be bright given the nation’s recent successful bids for supplying rice for Indonesia and the Philippines.
The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) has asked South Central and Central Highlands provinces to strive to produce at least 2.5 million tonnes of rice in this year’s upcoming crops.
The Philippines is considering an emergency purchase of up to 250,000 tonnes of rice from Vietnam or Thailand to ensure enough rice for domestic consumption during months of bad harvest.
Vietnam’s rice exports achieved a great triumph in the 11 months leading up to December as they hit 5.52 million tons worth US$2.49 billion, up 24.1% in volume and 24.9% in value against the same period last year.
Up to 100,000 tonnes of Vietnamese rice will be shipped to the EU each year tax-free in 2018 following the Vietnam-EU Free Trade Agreement, helping local rice exporters penetrate the market.
Falling demand and overseas competition are expected to bite into Vietnam's rice exports.
On November 4, Deputy Minister Le Quoc Doanh of the Ministry of Agricultural and Rural Development attended a ribbon cutting ceremony for an expansion of the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) offices in Hanoi.
Since taking office in 2016, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc has helped drive an industry-wide discussion and led the effort to improve the quality of rice grown in Vietnam.