Vietnam to reduce annual rice exports by 44% by 2030

Vietnam aims to reduce its rice exports to four million tonnes a year by 2030, the government said in a document outlining its rice export strategy from 7.1 million tonnes last year.

Vietnam is the world’s third largest exporter of rice after India and Thailand.

The move aims to 'increase exports of high-quality rice, ensure domestic food security, protect the environment and adapt to climate change,’ according to a government document dated May 26 and reviewed by Reuters.

Rice export earnings are projected to drop to $2.62 billion (2.4 billion euros) a year in 2030 and to $3.45 billion (3.2 billion euros) in 2022, the document says.

„As Vietnam’s rice farming area is shrinking due to climate change, this strategy appears to be very serious, although some farmers have switched to growing other crops and shrimp farming,” a rice trader from Ho Chi Minh City said on Saturday.

Some rice farmers in the Mekong Delta convert parts of their fields into fruit farms, growing mangoes, grapefruit, jackfruit and durian, but most rely on rice, the businessman said.

As climate change-induced seawater brings significantly increased salinity to the Mekong Delta region, the trend towards shrimp farming has been underway in the region for years.

Export of rice

Vietnam will diversify its rice export markets to reduce dependence on any one country, a government document said. The Philippines has long been Vietnam’s largest rice buyer, accounting for 45% of its exports last year.

Vietnamese Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh told Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr at a regional meeting in Indonesia this month that Vietnam is willing to supply rice to the Philippines for a long time at a reasonable price.

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By 2025, 60% of Vietnamese rice exports will go to Asian markets, 22% to Africa, 7% to American markets, 4% to the Middle East and 3% to Europe, the document says. By 2030, Asian markets will account for 55% and Europe for 5%.

„Vietnam seeks to increase rice exports to markets with high demand for quality grains and to markets with which Vietnam has signed free trade agreements,” the document said.

Pesticides

The document said Vietnam will try to reduce residues of plant protection products, including pesticides, in its rice.

The Vietnam Food Association, which represents rice processors and exporters, did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

The government said Vietnam will focus on the production of high-quality, fragrant and glutinous rice, while reducing the production of low-quality grains to 15% of total production by 2025 and 10% by 2030.

„I doubt this strategy will work because rice production depends on supply and demand and not on the government’s decision,” said another rice trader in An Jiang’s Mekong Delta province.

Rice exports from Vietnam rose 40.7% to 2.9 million tonnes in the first four months of this year, according to government customs data.

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