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Rice exports slump as prices rise

Update: February, 12/2014 - 09:29
Rice bags loaded on to a boat at the Sai Gon Satake Food Company in HCM City . Viet Nam ‘s rice exports plummetted in January just as global prices soared. — VNS/VNS Photo Dinh Hue

HCM CITY (VNS)— Viet Nam's rice shipments in January fell by 24 per cent compared with the same period last year even as export prices of the grain rose by 38.28 per cent.

According to figures released by the Viet Nam Food Association (VFA), Viet Nam exported 307,255 tonnes of rice at US$415.14 per tonne in January. The export volume is 24.11 per cent lower and the price is $38.28 per kg higher than the same period of last year.

Major exports were for the Philippines while shipments to China and African countries fell sharply. Meanwhile, demand for rice imports from traditional markets in the Southeast Asia ceased.

Viet Nam has maintained a large volume of fragile rice exports while shipping 25 per cent of its broken rice to the Philippines and 15 per cent to China.

The country is expected to ship between 300,000 and 350,000 tonnes in February 2014.

VFA has said Viet Nam will face harsh competition from other rice export countries this year.

According to the Department of Cultivation under the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, between 1 January and 8 February 2014, Mekong farmers sowed 1.58 million ha of the 1.6 million ha of rice cultivation areas under the 2013- 14 winter-spring rice crop. Of these, 200,000ha was grown by high yielding rice varieties.

There are three main factors that will affect the world rice markets this year. The first being the coming election in Thailand, one of the world's largest rice exporters. Secondly, the harvest of the winter-spring crop in Viet Nam and lastly, demand from China and African countries which impact the global price of rice, said VFA.

To reach the target of 7 million tonnes of rice exports in 2014, VFA has boosted rice exports to African countries. Viet Nam's rice has been exported to 30 of the 55 African countries, including Ivory Coast, Ghana, Senegal, Angola, and Cameroon

According to a memorandum of understanding (MoU) signed between Viet Nam and Guinea in 2013, Viet Nam will supply 300,000 tonnes of rice per year to Guinea, between 1 April 2013 and 31 December 2015.

Another MoU on rice trade was signed between Viet Nam and Comoros, under which Viet Nam will ship 60,000 tonnes of rice to this African country between August 2013 and December 2015.

The Ministry of Industry and Trade this year will organise trade delegations to Angola and Ivory Coast, with the aim of signing trade deals with these countries. —VNS


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