Illustrative photo (Source: VNA)

HCM City (VNA) – Rice exports are expected to reach about 400,000 tonnes for May, a year-on-year reduction of over 31 percent, and the lowest ratio since the beginning of this year, the Vietnam Food Association (VFA) reported.

VFA Secretary General Huynh Minh Hue said rice export orders in April and May both reduced compared with previous average levels due to downward trends in both orders from China and rice exporting price.

He revealed prices of Vietnam’s export rice in late April were higher than other suppliers, including Thailand, but then plummeted in May. The sector might have to adjust its initial target of exporting 1.8 million tonnes down to 1.3 million tonnes for the second quarter of this year.

The VFA does anticipate that exports of rice in the coming months will likely lift again due to more orders from other countries in the Southeast Asian region.

In 2015, Vietnam earned 2.68 billion USD from rice exports. Asian countries were the main buyers, accounting for 74.5 percent, followed by Africa (13.77 percent) and the US (6.72 percent). 

In early April, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development was assigned to closely monitor rice production and exports. 

The move was intended to ensure domestic food security and effectively manage export activities, given that prolonged and serious drought and saline intrusion were hitting major granaries in the country, particularly in the Mekong Delta. 

This year, the delta expected to plant over 4.3 million hectares of rice fields, which would yield approximately 25.7 million tonnes of rice. 

According to preliminary estimations, drought and saltwater encroachment have reduced the expected output by 700,000 tonnes, which is equivalent to 350,000 tonnes of rice.-VNA