Import demand continues boosting Vietnam’s rice export hinh anh 1Farmers dry unhusked rice in Hong Dan district, the Mekong Delta province of Bac Lieu (Photo: VNA)

Hanoi (VNA) – High rice import demand from Vietnam’s major markets in the second quarter is expected to help exporters continue good overseas shipments in the first three months of this year.

Some foreign news sources reported that in late March, the State Logistics Agency of Indonesia (Bulog) signed contracts to purchase 300,000 tonnes of rice from Vietnam and 200,000 tonnes from Thailand. This is the third time Indonesia has imported rice since the beginning of 2018.

Chairman of the Vietnam Food Association (VFA) Nguyen Ngoc Nam confirmed the report, saying that Bulog invited the Vietnam Northern Food Corporation and the Vietnam Southern Food Corporation to supply the rice. This contract will be carried out from April to July this year.

The Philippines, another major market, is also planning to import rice in large amounts in the second quarter, the VFA said, adding that the country will import 250,000 tonnes of rice to augment its rice reserves. The auction will open in May.

Meanwhile, rice import demand from China, Malaysia and Japan has also helped warm up the Asian rice market, promising good prospects for Vietnam’s rice shipment in the second quarter.

[Infographics: Vietnam likely to export 6.5 million tonnes of rice in 2018]

According to the agriculture ministry’s Department of Crop Production, about 980,000 hectares of winter-spring rice in the Mekong Delta, the biggest rice hub in Vietnam, had been harvested as of March 29 with average productivity of 6.5 – 6.6 tonnes of unhusked rice per hectare.

Some rice exporters said the market in the Mekong Delta has become vibrant since mid-March due to abundant rice supply, supporting their export activities.

The US Department of Agriculture predicted Vietnam could export 6.7 million tonnes of rice this year thanks to shipments to China and expansion in other markets.

The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development reported that rice exports in January – March totalled 1.36 million tonnes worth 669 million USD, representing year-on-year rises of 9.4 percent in volume and 24 percent in value. China remained the top importer of Vietnamese rice, accounting for 24.4 percent of total exports.-VNA