Rice export value up 18.9 percent in January - May hinh anh 1Rice is packaged for export at a factory of the Loc Troi Group in An Giang province (Photo: VNA)

Hanoi (VNA) - Vietnam has seen strong growth in rice exports in the first five months of this year, shipping nearly 2.9 million tonnes abroad for 1.41 billion USD, up 5.1 percent and 18.9 percent, respectively, year-on-year.

Shipments have increased sharply since May 1, when the Government resumed rice exports, Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade Do Thang Hai said.

The country is pinning its hopes on exporting 3.7 million tonnes of rice in the first half of the year.

Rice export prices averaged 485 USD per tonne during the period, a year-on-year increase of 13 percent, according to the Agro Processing and Market Development Authority. The average price surged 21.4 percent year-on-year in May, to 527 USD per tonne.

The price of 5 percent broken rice shot up to 475 USD per tonne on June 4 - the highest point in eight years. Prices ranged from 450 to 460 USD per tonne a week prior.

Deputy Minister of Agricultural and Rural Development Le Quoc Doanh revealed that Vietnam expects to produce 43.5 million tonnes of paddy rice, including over 20 million tonnes harvested in the winter-spring crop, which will end before June 30.

The southern region is cultivating the summer-autumn rice crop on a total of nearly 1.63 million ha. The area is estimated to generate roughly 9.2 million tonnes of paddy, up 44,000 tonnes against the summer-autumn crop last year.

The Philippines was the biggest buyer of Vietnamese rice in the first four months of 2020, accounting for 40.5 percent. It plans to purchase an additional 300,000 tonnes to strengthen its reserves and prepare for the low-supply season in the third quarter.

Bangladesh is also seeking to import an additional 200,000 tonnes of paddy to secure supply for domestic coronavirus relief efforts.

Global rice demand remains high while supply is limited, said Ly Thai Hung, Director-General of the Hung Cuc Ltd. Co., one of the leading rice exporters in Vietnam’s north.

Vietnam enjoying a bumper harvest in the winter-spring and summer-autumn crops, he continued, would present a major export opportunity./.