The Vietnam Food Association (VFA) has warned that it would be difficult to export rice in 2017. Vietnamese rice inventory volume has reached nearly 1 million tons. Not only Vietnam, but Thailand also has millions of tons of rice in excess. This means that Vietnam would have to compete with Thailand to sell eight million tons in its stockpile. “The market is unpredictable. However, it would be very difficult to find buyers this year. While the supply is profuse, Vietnam’s loyal markets such as the Philippines and Indonesia now can feed themselves, while other markets have tightened control over the import quality,” said Mr. Nguyen Van Don, director of Viet Hung Company in Tien Giang. The company still had not signed any export contract by the end of March. It now just gathers strength to deliver rice under contracts signed in 2016.
According to an analyst China would continue controlling the Vietnamese rice market this year as in the past. Therefore this would mean that any fluctuations in the Chinese market would affect the Vietnamese market. Vietnam has been warned it would face even bigger difficulties as the Chinese market is no longer easy to please. Moreover the situation has become worse since the President of the Philippines has announced the ban on import of rice to protect its local farmers. VFA’s chairman Mr. Huynh the Nang said that not only the Philippines, but other SE Asian markets too have gradually changed the rice import mechanism. It is not the governments, but private businesses that will come forward and import rice, he said.
Some experts are of the view that growing more rice is not a solution for Vietnam. Mr. Vo Tong Xuan, an expert in agriculture can’t understand as to why Vietnam still wants to grow rice, if it can’t find enough markets and profits from it. He believes that it would be better to reduce the cultivation of rice and shift to grow other crops which bring more money. Another expert from the Vietnam Agriculture Academy, Mr.Vu Van Liet is of the opinion that since the African countries have same requirements for rice quality as China, the government needs to help enterprises boost exports to African countries to clear rice stocks.