Vietnam hopes to increase export of parboiled rice by a third next year to 400,000 tonnes.

President of the Vietnam Food Association, Truong Thanh Phong, said production of parboiled rice would not only increase the diversity and quality of Vietnamese rice but also help farmers make the most of the summer-autumn wet rice crop.

This year’s planned exports of at least 300,000 tonnes would meet 10 percent of annual global demand for the variety.

Parboiled rice refers to paddy boiled in the husk and is favoured by many people for its nutritional value.

In some countries, especially in areas with people with high incomes, parboiled rice is increasingly replacing white rice.

Phong said parboiled rice fetches a 50-60 USD higher export price per tonne than 5 percent broken white rice.

Parboiled rice from Vietnam , the world’s second largest rice exporter after Thailand , was exported to countries in East Europe, Africa, and Asia at 570 USD on average, Nguyen Ngoc Trung, general director of Vinh Phat Investment Corporation, which exported 42,000 tonnes this year, said.

Experts say the quality of Vietnamese parboiled rice is quite high, which gives it a competitive advantage over regional rivals such as India and Pakistan .

The Vietnam Southern Food Corporation will soon complete construction of three more plants to parboil rice for exports. They will be operational next year, producing 300,000 tonnes a year, while the rest of the export target will be made up by private producers.

The country started exporting parboiled rice last year, shipping more than 10,000 tonnes. But despite the fact that this kind of rice fetches a higher price, Vietnamese producers are hesitant about investing in this field.

An executive from a Mekong Delta-based rice firm attributed this to the higher amount of investment required than for processing white rice.

But grabbing market share from top exporter Thailand and others was the main challenge for Vietnamese producers, the executive said.

The summer-autumn crop is usually harvested during the storm season, and if Vietnam captures at least 30 percent of the international market share, farmers will be less worried about their harvest./.