Vietnam needs to promote brand building for rice exports hinh anh 1Workers load bags of rice in Song Hau Food Company (under the Vietnam Southern Food Corporation). (Photo: VNA)

Hanoi (VNS/VNA) - While 2020 has been a successful year for Vietnamese rice exports, more must be done to accelerate the development of the national rice brand, experts have said.

Rice export prices in Vietnam jumped to their highest point since December 2011 last week, as a shortage of containers sent freight rates soaring and pushed Thai prices to a near four-month peak.

Prices for Vietnam’s 5 percent broken rice hit 500 USD per tonne, from the previous week’s 470-490 USD, Reuters reported.

A shortage of containers has made it difficult for traders to ship rice to customers, a trader based in the Mekong province of An Giang said.

For instance, freight rates for a 20-feet container to Africa have risen to 5,000 USD from 1,500 USD a couple of months ago, the trader added.

Meanwhile, at the World Rice Trade Conference 2020 held by The Rice Trader (TRT) in earlier December, Vietnamese rice ST25 was named the second-best rice in the world. Last year, it was given first prize in Manila, the Philippines.

The TRT World Rice Conference is the largest annual gathering of commercial and professional rice industry participants in the world.

This is good news for Vietnamese rice and the rice exports are forecast to grow strongly in the future.

The prize is also an opportunity to create a brand for Vietnamese rice, according to the agricultural experts, because after more than 30 years of exporting, Vietnam's rice industry only has a national brand logo.

Thailand and Cambodia have branded their rice to improve promotion activities on the global market and create confidence in quality. Therefore, their rice products have higher selling prices, Pham Thai Binh, General Director of Cong Trung An High-Tech Agriculture Joint Stock Company, told Nhip cau dau tu (Investment Bridge) newspaper. Meanwhile, local traders could not gain high prices for high-quality rice without a national brand, he said.

Vietnam is among the world's top rice exporters with the value the second highest in the world. Therefore, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc recently approved a project to develop Vietnam's rice brand. Specifically, by 2030, Vietnam is hoped to have stable, efficient and sustainable regions producing rice for export to build the world's leading brand in food quality and safety for Vietnamese rice.

The project calls for Vietnam to restructure the rice production industry with investment in some varieties to increase the value of rice seeds. However, in the Mekong Delta, the largest rice production region in the country, the creation of a large field model has not achieved the expected efficiency.

Unprofessional production makes it difficult to build a brand, said Lam Dinh Quoc, former director of the Soc Trang Food Company.

Therefore, Loc Troi Group is building an ecosystem in rice production where the group and farmers produce rice under orders from large companies. Recently, the group has exported more than 126 tonnes of fragrant rice to the EU under the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA). This is the first shipment to enjoy the zero tax rate since the agreement came into effect.

“The EU is a huge rice importer from 2.3-2.5 million tonnes per year. So, with the EVFTA and control in rice quality, Vietnam’s rice exports to this market will increase in the future," said Le Quoc Doanh, Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development./.