|Farmers move sacks of rice for export. Viet Nam anticipates competition from Asian and African rice exporters in the future, especially from Thailand. — VNA/VNS Photo Dinh Hue
HA NOI (VNS) — The Viet Nam Food Association (VFA) has predicted 2015 to be a tough year for Viet Nam's rice exporters in the face of fierce competition from their Thai rivals.
At a conference that the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) organised in HCM City last Friday to review the country's rice production in 2014, VFA Vice President Pham Van Bay also revealed that Viet Nam would have to compete with Asian and African rice exporters in the future.
During the harvest season for the winter-spring crop, Thailand will be joining India, Pakistan, Myanmar and Cambodia in providing fiercer competition in rice exports even as world demand for rice imports remains vague, according to the association.
Next year, Vietnamese rice exporters will start feeling the pressure of competition, especially from their Thai counterparts.
Thailand has concentrated on recovering traditional rice markets in Africa and expanding its markets in Asia, especially the Philippines, Indonesia and China.
The association also noted that Thailand was now the world's largest rice exporter and was expecting to export 11 million tonnes of the staple this year, reported chinhphu.vn.
From now until the end of this year, the price of rice exports will likely remain at current levels or see a slight decrease because of easing demand from export markets.
Enterprises under the VFA are striving to sell all rice bought from farmers while balancing rice volumes for export in the remaining months of the year and early next year.
According to the association, the price of the summer-autumn crop this year has remained high in the Cuu Long (Mekong) Delta provinces in the absence of a programme for purchasing rice for temporary stockpile because traders have purchased rice for export through the border gates to China.
But the price of the winter-spring crop could not remain as high as that of the summer-autumn crop because of unexpected export demand in the early part of next year.
In a worst-case scenario, the ministry will propose a programme for purchasing rice for temporary stockpile to the Government to avoid a decline in rice prices in the domestic market that will affect farmers' profits, the association said.
Reports from the VFA showed that in the first nine months of 2014, Viet Nam shipped 4.8 million tonnes of rice abroad with a freight-on-board (FOB) value of US$2 billion, representing decreases of 7.81 per cent in volume and 7.2 per cent in value compared with the same period last year.
Domestic rice producers hope to export 1.4 million tonnes of rice in the last quarter of 2014, bringing the entire annual export volume to 6.3 million tonnes.
This year, the cultivation area of the southern region, the country's key rice producer, was estimated to be 4.7 million hectares, with an estimated yield of 27.8 million tonnes, an increase of 916,000 tonnes against that of last year, according to figures from the MARD. — VNS