Loading rice for export at Sai Gon Port in HCM City (Photo: VNA)

Hanoi (VNA) - The Vietnam Food Association (VFA) has decided to raise its rice export target from 5.2 million tonnes to 5.6 million tonnes, following an increase in rice contracts for the last months of the year.

Rice exports have rebounded with an increase in rice contracts since May. The country’s rice sector has already met 82 percent of its target for the entire year.

VFA’s statistics showed that in the first nine months of the year, Vietnam shipped around 4.57 million tonnes of rice worth 2.02 billion USD, up 20.8 percent in quantity and over 18.6 percent in value from the same period last year. China was still the largest importer of Vietnamese rice.

August saw the strongest growth for rice exports this year so far with 70 percent and 56.8 percent increases in terms of quantity and value respectively.

The number of contracts registered for exports in August also rose to the record level of some 842,000 tonnes, increasing 207 percent from the previous month and representing a 115 percent year-on-year increase.

Most of the contracts were with importers in China, and Philippines and Africa.

The VFA attributed the boom to better export performance in traditional markets including China, Malaysia, the Philippines and Bangladesh. 

Specifically, Vietnamese rice exporters shipped 150,000 tonnes of rice to Malaysia; 250,000 tonnes to Bangladesh and 175,000 tonnes to the Philippines. New export markets such as Australia and West Asia also saw strong growth.

The association forecast that Vietnam’s rice exports would continue to increase in the future as Bangladesh solicited bids from exporters for an order of 50,000 tonnes of non-basmati rice. If Vietnam wins the bid, its rice market’s already good year would become even better.

In May, the Vietnam and Bangladesh governments extended the memorandum of understanding on rice trading for five years, covering the period from 2017-22.

Under the MoU, Vietnam will supply some 1 million tonnes of rice a year for Bangladesh. After the MoU signing, Bangladesh is expected to buy around 500,000 tonnes of Vietnamese rice till the end of this year.

In addition, the Philippines also opened a minimum access volume (MAV) mechanism in 2017-18. Accordingly, the country will import 293,100 tonnes of rice from Vietnam.

China is forecast to continue to maintain strong imports of Vietnamese rice in the year-end months.

The Ministry of Industry and Trade recently announced Strategy on Việt Nam Rice Export Market Development for 2017-20 calls for gradually reducing rice export quantity but maintaining rice export value.

In addition, export and market structures will be adjusted.-VNA