|Workers of Tien Giang Food Company load rice from farmers. Rice export activities will see changes in the future to assure the sector's competitiveness. — VNA/VNS Photo Dinh Hue
HA NOI (VNS)— Deputy Minister of Finance Hoang Anh Tuan has asked relevant agencies to speed up a draft decree on rice exports so that suggestions from relevant ministries can be submitted to the Government for approval.
One of the key tenets of this draft decree is to re-organise rice exporting activities, so that market competitiveness can be assured.
To deal with difficulties in rice exports, Tuan urged the Import-Export Department of the Ministry of Industry and Trade and Viet Nam Food Association (VFA) to focus on assessing and analysing market issues, according to the news website Chinhphu.vn.
According to VFA, in April alone, the country's rice exports are estimated to reach 807,000 tonnes, worth approximately US$340 million. In the first four months of this year, rice exports were estimated to have reached 2.38 million tonnes (an increase of 7.6 per cent) with an export turnover of more than $1 billion. Many rice export contracts were signed in the first four months of 2013, but the export value had remained low.
During the first four months, rice exporters were contracted to ship 4,231 million tonnes of rice, an increase of 9.92 per cent over the same period last year, but they failed to deliver on time.
Director of the Import-Export Department Phan Van Chinh said the rice export price fell for most countries due to excess global supply, as Thailand sought to clear its stockpiles of at least 12 million tonnes. In addition, India and Pakistan had bumper crops which helped them to improve on previously poor rice export figures. Myanmar has also entered the export market, adding further to the supply chain and thus lowering rice export prices.
Chinh pointed out that Vietnamese rice export prices had never been higher than Thai rice. Furthermore, Vietnamese rice was less competitive in Africa compared to Pakistan and India, due to higher transport costs.
He added that weaker Vietnamese rice exporters often offered low rice prices for export to quickly return their capital and being hit by high lending rates. Meanwhile, the winter-spring crop this year is expected to harvest between 3.7 million to 3.8 million tonnes of rice.
To handle difficulties for farm produce and seafood products in Cuu Long (Mekong) Delta, the Ministry of Industry and Trade and the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development will meet with local authorities to review the difficulties and seek solutions to eradicate them. — VNS