The Vietnam Food Association (VFA) has predicted that 2015 will be a tough year for Vietnam ’s rice exporters as they will face fierce competitions from their Thai rivals.

At a recent conference held by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) in Ho Chi Minh City to review the rice production in 2014, VFA Vice President Pham Van Bay said Vietnam will have to compete with not only Asian rice exporters but also those in African countries in the future.

From now until the end of this year, the price of export rice will be likely to stand at the current level or will see a slight decrease because of the easing demand from export markets.

Enterprises under the VFA are striving to sell all of the rice brought from farmers, while balancing rice volumes for export in the remaining months of the year and early next year, Bay added.

Reports released by VFA show that in the first nine months of 2014, Vietnam shipped 4.8 million tonnes of rice abroad with a free-on-board (FOB) value of 2 billion USD, representing decreases of 7.81 percent in volume and 7.2 percent in value compared to the same period last year.

Local rice producers hope to export 1.4 million tonnes of rice in the last quarter of 2014, bringing the year’s rice export volume to 6.3 million tonnes.

This year , the cultivation area of the southern region- the country’s key rice producer- is 4.7 million ha, with an estimated yield of 27.8 million tonnes, up 916,000 tonnes against last year, according to statistics from MARD.-VNA