Rice for export (Photo: VNA)

Hanoi (VNA) – Vietnam exported 2.93 million tonnes of rice with a value of 1.32 billion USD in the first seven months of the year, a year-on-year plunge of 18.4 percent in volume and 14.4 percent in value, according to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD).

Low rice production, caused by drought and saline intrusion in the Mekong Delta region, led to the fall in exports, the MARD said.

Besides, a significant decline in rice consumption were seen in such traditional markets as the Philippines (54.3 percent) and Malaysia (59.2 percent).

China remained the largest importer of Vietnamese rice, accounting for 35 percent of the market share. Indonesia was second with 11.6 percent.

The country’s rice export is estimated to fall to 5.65 million tonnes in 2016, down 14 percent against the previous year and 800,000 tonnes lower than initial forecasts. This stems from decreases in production and fierce competition from other exporters like Thailand and India.

According to the Vietnam Food Association (VFA), this is the first time since 2009 Vietnam’s rice exports may fall below 6 million tonnes.-VNA