|Workers load rice for export at the HCM City Food Company. Viet Nam's rice export turnover to markets in Africa, West Asia and South Asia grew significantly in the first three months to top US$71.3 million. — VNA/VNS Photo Dinh Hue
HA NOI (VNS) — Viet Nam's rice export to Africa is likely to rebound significantly this year, based on the rapid growth seen in the first quarter, according to the Department of Africa, West Asia and South Asia Markets under the Ministry of Industry and Trade.
Statistics compiled by the General Department of Customs show that the country's rice export turnover to markets in Africa, West Asia and South Asia experienced considerable growth in the first three months to top US$71.3 million, 531 per cent higher than that of the same period last year.
Africa accounted for 94.1 per cent of this figure, with shipments to key markets in the continent – Ghana, Ivory Coast and South Africa – witnessing significant growth after a steep plunge in 2014.
Before last year's plunge, Vietnamese rice had seen strong growth in Africa since 2011, the Cong Thuong (Industry and Trade) newspaper reported yesterday.
In 2013, the country exported two million tonnes of rice to the continent, accounting for nearly 30 per cent of total volume of rice shipped abroad. Africa became Viet Nam's second largest rice importer that year, after China.
However, shipments to Africa in 2014 declined in value to $425.7 million on the back of decreased demand in the market and harsh competition from Thailand, India and Pakistan.
The department has submitted to the MoIT a plan to facilitate Vietnamese rice exports to African markets. Trade analysts say that if the plan is approved, another upsurge in shipments to the region is possible.
The plan will support local rice exporters in carrying out promotions and opening bonded warehouses in Africa's larger markets like Angola, Ivory Coast and Cameroon.
This is expected to increase direct exports to these market and avoid the risks of doing it through a third party.
Africa is now the largest rice consumer in the world with an annual demand of over 9 million tonnes of rice, almost 6.5 million tonnes of which is imported.
In order to fully tap this potential, the ministry has advised that Vietnamese exporters try and meet increasing demand in the market for high-quality rice products, besides traditional rice. — VNS