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According to the Ministry of Industry and Trade, Viet Nam will focus on West and South Asian markets as well as African markets to boost rice exports amidst harsh competition anticipated this year.
The department cited statistics from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, which stated that rice consumption in Africa, with a population of more than 1 billion, was estimated at some 24 million tons per year and rising.
Since 2009, Africa has imported 8-10 million tons of rice annually, worth between US$3.5-5 billion.
The department pointed out that import demands for rice in West and Southern Asia were also high. However, currently many countries, such as Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Bangladesh, mainly imported rice from Thailand or India.
Statistics from the Viet Nam General Department of Customs showed that, as of November 2014, Vietnamese rice was exported to 46 of 78 markets in Western and Southern Asia as well as Africa with a total turnover of about US$410 million.
Unfortunately, 2014 was a difficult year for rice exports from Viet Nam due to the impact of oversupply, high inventories and significant pressure from the competition, besides the impact of El Nino, Ebola and political unrest in several regions.
Statistics showed that as of November, rice export from Viet Nam reached 6.062 million tons, valued at US $2.8 billion, down 2.3 per cent in volume, while up 2.6 per cent in value. Rice exports for the full year were expected to be 6.5 million tons.
As difficulties for rice exports were expected to continue this year, the ministry urged keeping a close watch on market fluctuations and expanding exports to new and potential markets, while enhancing the quality of Vietnamese rice.
I’m Nick Veinot. We will be back with more news from English 123.