Vietnam shipped abroad 279,266 tonnes of rice in January, bringing home 153.650 million USD, a 50 percent decrease year-on-year, according to the Vietnam Food Association (VFA).

The largest buyer of Vietnamese rice in January was Asia , which imported 228,263 tonnes, accounting for 81.74 percent of the country’s total rice export volume. It was followed by America which 27,255 tonnes, making up 9.75 percent. Other importers were countries in Africa, the Middle East and Europe .

VFA predicted that several first months of 2012 will see the sharp increase in rice export from India and Pakistan , leaving difficulties to other rice exporters including Vietnam .

Experts cited the long lunar New Year holiday in January in Vietnam as a reason behind the decrease in its rice export.

The Mekong delta region, the country’s largest granary, is expected to yield an output of 10.349 million tonnes in the winter- spring crop, equal to the number of the same crop last year./.