Highlights in rice exports in 2024

(VEN) - According to the preliminary estimate by the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT), Vietnam exported more than 512,000 tonnes of rice worth US$362 million to 27 markets in January 2024, up 42.8 percent in volume and 94.5 percent in value compared to the same time of 2022.

Promising signs

Statistics show that in 2023, Vietnam’s rice exports reached more than 8.1 million tonnes in volume and US$4.6 billion in value, with the average export price of US$575 per tonne. Compared with 2022, rice exports increased by 14.4 percent in volume, 35.3 percent in value and US$88.8 per tonne in price. With these results, Vietnam continues to be one of the world’s top three rice exporters, alongside India and Thailand, accounting for about 15 percent of the global rice export volume.

Highlights in rice exports in 2024
A February 29 online meeting between MoIT officials and representatives of overseas Vietnamese trade offices - photo: Can Dung

In 2024, rice prices are forecast to continue rising significantly while global rice production is predicted to reach a record level of nearly 520 million tonnes, with consumption approaching 525 million tonnes. It is estimated that the world will face a shortage of five million tonnes of rice, while global inventories will be at their lowest level in the past six years, 160 million tonnes. In January 2024, Vietnam’s rice exports showed promising signs, providing a solid foundation for brighter expectations this year.

However, Tran Quoc Toan, Deputy Director of the MoIT’s Agency of Foreign Trade, has noted that Vietnam will be directly affected by all policy changes, supply-demand fluctuations, and price trends of rice-consuming countries worldwide. To prepare for upcoming changes, the MoIT has developed strategic and practical solutions that are suitable for each possible scenario.

Noteworthy recommendations

The Philippines, Indonesia and China continued to be the top three importers of Vietnamese rice in 2023. The Philippines topped the list with more than 3.14 million tonnes worth US$1.75 billion, accounting for 38.5 percent of the total export volume and 37.5 percent of the total export value of Vietnamese rice in 2023.

Phung Van Thanh, Vietnamese Commercial Counselor in the Philippines, said that Vietnam is the number-one rice exporter to the Philippines and has many advantages in this market, therefore. Many Vietnamese businesses have long-standing relationships with rice importers in the Philippines.

Vietnam also benefits from bilateral and multilateral trade agreements that both countries participate in, while the Philippines’ non-ASEAN partners such as India and Pakistan do not have the same level of access. Phung Van Thanh believes that Vietnamese rice will continue to hold the number one position in the Philippines, and there is still ample room and opportunities for Vietnamese rice exporters to explore and expand the market, thereby increasing exports to this market.

The Vietnamese Commercial Counselor in the Philippines forecast that 2024 will continue to be a year of significant fluctuations, as India, the world’s largest rice exporter, maintains its ban on rice exports and imports, thereby affecting the global supply. In contrast, China and Indonesia are increasing their rice imports, creating more opportunities for Vietnam’s rice exports.

However, Phung Van Thanh suggested that domestic rice exporters must ensure Vietnam’s position as the number-one rice exporter to the Philippines. Currently, Thailand is also seeking ways to increase its rice exports to the Philippines, competing with Vietnamese rice.

In addition, it is necessary to diversify rice products for export, not just focusing on high-quality products for high-end customers. It is also important to tap into the potential of medium-quality and lower-quality rice to serve a larger number of people with average and low incomes.

Contrary to the Philippine market, in Indonesia, which is Vietnam’s second-largest rice importer, the government has a policy of ensuring food security from domestic rice sources and maintaining strict import management policies for rice, according to Pham The Cuong, Vietnamese Commercial Counselor in Indonesia. This will lead to a decrease in Indonesia’s rice import demand in the near future. Indonesia also plans to increase the rice cultivation area by at least one million hectares and put in place suitable policies to encourage farmers to grow rice, thus increasing domestic rice production.

Another challenge for Vietnamese rice exports to Indonesia is the increasing competition with Thai rice in the high-quality segment, while the brand recognition of Vietnamese rice in the Indonesian market is not yet well-established. In many supermarkets in Indonesia, Thai rice has a recognizable brand for consumers.

Therefore, Pham The Cuong recommended that Vietnam needs to improve the quality of rice exports, diversify rice varieties, and ensure there’s no violation of regulations on pesticide residues. It is also important to focus on developing products derived from rice, as this is a highly potential market segment. Rice exporters need to pay greater attention to building their brands and have a well-planned strategy to promote the premium quality rice brands of Vietnam, utilizing multiple channels and various forms of promotional activities.

Viet Anh

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