Vietnam’s rice export turnover to markets in Africa, West Asia and South Asia recorded considerable growth in the first quarter of this year to hit 71.3 million USD, 531 percent higher than that of the same period last year.

Of the figure, 94.1 percent was generated through exports to African markets, forecasting a strong recovery after a recent downturn in the market.

Vietnamese rice shipped to African markets has seen strong growth since 2011.

In 2013, the country exported 2 million tonnes of rice to Africa, accounting for nearly 30 percent of Vietnam’s total volume of rice sold in foreign markets. Africa became Vietnam’s second largest rice importer that year, after China.

However, the country’s rice export turnover to Africa in 2014 reached only 452.7 million USD due to decreased demand in the market. Vietnamese rice firms also faced competition from companies in Thailand, India and Pakistan.

To support Vietnamese rice exporters, the Ministry of Industry and Trade’s Department of Africa, West Asia and South Asia Markets is outlining a rice export plan to African markets.

As stipulated, promotion activities will be intensified to help rice exporters’ access to new markets.

The ministry advised Vietnamese exporters to provide high-quality rice products besides traditional rice, given their increasing demand in Africa, to fully tap the potential of the continent’s markets.

Africa is now the largest rice consumer in the world with an annual demand of over 9 million tonnes of rice, almost 6.5 million tonnes of which is imported.-VNA