Vietnam shipped 536,570 tonnes of rice worth 236 million USD abroad during the first quarter of this year, marking the lowest Q1 figures since 2009, announced Huynh The Nang, Deputy Chairman of the Vietnam Food Association (VFA).

He said the reasons for the drop include low demand and exporters’ limited access to loans.

Nang added that the world rice market presented a number of challenges due to low demand and high supply from Thailand, India, Pakistan and Myanmar.

According to the VFA, rice exports will continue facing difficulties as African countries purchase considerable amounts of cheap and low-quality rice from Thailand.

Meanwhile, Vietnam’s key markets, such as China and Southeast Asia, have lowered their demand.

In 2014, Vietnam exported 6.32 million tonnes of rice and earned 2.8 million USD, becoming the third largest rice exporter in the world after Thailand and India, according to the association.-VNA