Rice exporters would need certificates from the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT) in order to export as of October 1 this year, according to the Vietnam Food Association (Vietfood).

Currently, businessé are allowed to export rice without having to adhere to industry regulations.

Vietfood Chairman Truong Thanh Phong said that his association had asked rice exporters, who met MoIT storage and husking requirements (regulated by Decree ND109/2010/ND-CP issued in November last year), to register early in order to meet the MoIT deadline.

Under Decree ND109/2010/ND-CP, rice exporters are required to have a storage capacity of at least 5,000 tonnes and husking facilities with an output of at least 10 tonnes per hour.

Storage and husking facilities have to be located in cities and provinces home to rice granaries or international ports to serve rice exports.

According to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD), the country exported 3.5 million tonnes of rice, worth 1.7 billion USD, during the first five months of the year, a decrease of 18.6 percent and 13.3 percent in terms of volume and value compared to the same period last year.

In the first five months of 2011, Indonesia , followed by Cuba , Malaysia and Hong Kong, remained Vietnam 's largest rice importer, accounting for 25.5 percent of total rice export volume.

Domestic rice exporters currently face tough challenges in trading in the Korean and Japanese markets.

The Vietnamese Commercial Counselor for the Republic of Korea (RoK), Le An Hai, said that, although in the RoK planned to import 347,658 tonnes of rice this year, Vietnamese rice exporters had to gain experience in exporting rice through electronic auction in order to win contracts there.

The Deputy General Director of the Southern Food Corp, Cao Thi Ngoc Hoa, admitted that local exporters were still unfamiliar with electronic auctions.

Although Japan had planned to import 250,000 tonnes of rice from Vietnam , local rice exporters struggled to win Japanese orders because of poor market research and knowledge regarding modern market trading methods, said Ho Xuan Hung, MARD deputy minister.

Due to the challenges local exporters are currently facing, Vietfood forecast that the country's rice exports would decrease to 6.5 million tonnes this year compared to 6.88 million tonnes last year./.