Illustrative photo (Source:VNA)

Hanoi (VNA) - The Vietnam Food Association (VFA) aims to export 1.6 million tonnes of rice in the second quarter of this year, 200,000 tonnes lower than initially planned.

In the first three months of this year, the country exported 1.59 million tonnes of rice.

As so, rice exports in the first half of this year are expected to hit over 3 million tonnes, up 12 percent against the same period last year.

For the whole year, the export volume is expected to remain at last year’s 6.5 million tonnes.

In 2015, Vietnam earned 2.68 billion USD from rice export, a decrease of 3.94 percent in value. Asian countries were the main buyers, accounting for 74.5 percent of exports, followed by Africa (13.77 percent) and the US (6.72 percent).

Early April, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development was assigned to closely monitor rice production and exports.

The move intended to ensure domestic food security and effectively manage export activities, given that prolonged and serious drought and saline intrusion are hitting major granaries in the country, particularly in the Mekong Delta.

This year, the delta expected to plant over 4.3 million hectares of rice fields, which would yield approximately 25.7 million tonnes of rice.

According to preliminary estimations, drought and saltwater have reduced the expected output by 700,000 tonnes, which are equivalent to 350,000 tonnes of rice./.