|From now to 2030, Vietnam can convert agricultural land to industrial land or other crops by about 400,000 hectares. Photo: N. Thanh|
According to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, in the first eight months of 2022, rice exports reached over US$2.3 billion, up 18.1% in volume and 8.1% in value over the same period last year. However, despite the increase in both volume and value, it is noticeable in this year’s rice export “picture” that the price of rice has decreased compared to 2021, with certain precariousness.
According to the Vietnam Food Association, on August 26, the export price of 5% broken, 25% broken and broken rice in Vietnam was 393 USD/ton and 378 USD/ton, respectively. These prices are lower than 418 USD/ton and 397 USD/ton of Thai rice of the same type. However, the price of Vietnamese rice was higher than the price of rice of the same type in India and Pakistan.
Meanwhile, about a month ago, on July 26, Vietnam’s rice price was considered stable and at the highest level among the world’s largest rice exporting countries. Specifically, the price of Vietnam’s 5% broken rice traded at $413/ton, $13/ton higher than Thai rice and $70/ton higher than Indian rice. As for 25% broken rice, Vietnam’s rice is at 393 USD/ton, 2 USD/ton higher than Thai rice.
Evaluation of rice export price this year was not as expected, said Do Ha Nam, Vice Chairman of the Vietnam Food Association. Normally, the price will increase when food is out of season and goods are in short supply. Meanwhile, this year, the major rice-producing countries have good harvests, increased output, and high inventories. In addition, when countries have high food demand, Vietnam also pours excessive supply. The proof is that Vietnam’s rice export output has increased by nearly 20% compared to the previous year.
From the perspective of specific export enterprises, Nguyen Van Don, Director of Viet Hung Co., Ltd. assessed that, in general, market demand is weak and purchasing power is not high. Since the beginning of the year, Vietnamese rice has been mainly exported to the Philippines, while exports to the Chinese market have declined. However, the Philippine market mainly demands to import rice at a medium price. Other markets are still stable, but the import volume is not high. Therefore, it is likely that the rice market will continue to be quiet until the end of the summer-autumn rice harvest.
Do Ha Nam added that exporting rice to the Chinese market faced many difficulties, mainly due to the Covid-19 epidemic. In addition, China has a high demand for ST rice this year, but Vietnam does not have enough to meet it. Therefore, ST rice mainly serves the domestic market. Furthermore, with the situation of the Covid-19 epidemic in China, import demand is expected to decrease because the demand for rice for processing into products is lower.
In the Philippines market, Do Ha Nam analyzed, from the beginning of the year until now, this market’s rice imports have grown by 20% compared to the same period last year, and the country has started the harvest season. These factors make it difficult for rice exports to the Philippines until the end of the year to have a breakthrough in growth.
“Going to the finish line” US$ 3.3 billion
Regarding the rice export target for the whole year, Nguyen Nhu Cuong, Director of the Department of Crop Production (Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development), said that up to now, the cropping industry still ensures the production plan, with planting about 7.24 million hectares, the output is over 43 million tons of rice. “If there are no weather abnormalities or epidemics, Vietnam has enough rice output to ensure rice exports from 6.5 to 6.7 million tons. However, the export price of rice depends on the world market,” said Nguyen Nhu Cuong.
Regarding rice export, Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Phung Duc Tien further informed that the average export price of Vietnam’s rice is currently about $479/ton, down about 8.8% over the same period last year. However, if there are no abnormalities in weather and epidemics, Vietnam will have enough 6.5-6.7 million tons of rice for export, and it is expected that export turnover will reach about 3.2-3.3 billion USD. “In the coming time, the rice industry needs many solutions to improve output, quality, and build a brand,” emphasized the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development leader.
Regarding the rise and fall of rice prices and the need to reduce rice acreage, especially in the Mekong Delta, Nguyen Nhu Cuong affirmed that Vietnam is an agricultural country, therefore, at least in the Mekong Delta region. Furthermore, cultivation is to ensure food security for 100 million Vietnamese people. Therefore, it is necessary to ensure a certain area not only in the short term but also in the long term.
According to the General Statistics Office (Ministry of Planning and Investment) and the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, Vietnam has about 3.9 million hectares of rice land. According to the Resolution of the National Assembly as well as the conclusions of the Central Government, it will keep 3.5 million hectares of rice land until 2030. Therefore, from now to 2030, Vietnam can convert agricultural land to public land or other crops, about 400,000 ha. Of course, this transformation takes a process. However, this is a flexible and effective transformation to stabilize the agricultural industry and ensure food security and export.
Regarding the project to develop one million hectares of high-quality rice, Nguyen Nhu Cuong added that this one million hectare of high-quality rice land is not simply a high-quality rice variety. However, in the scheme, it is necessary to propose the following policies: policies to attract rice production, business, processing and export enterprises to invest in storage, processing, and logistics to create the highest efficiency. In addition, waste by-products must be utilized to create high-tech products, deeply processed from rice; mechanisms and policies support rice growers in organizing and investing in production.
“The Department of Crop Production is consulting the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development in this project to focus on developing several policies to support rice export enterprises to focus on developing together with farmers to diversify agricultural industries, improve agricultural products, build a brand of Vietnamese rice, not simply one million hectares of fragrant, high-quality rice varieties,” emphasized Nguyen Nhu Cuong.