Experts call for reducing rice exports
The country should halve its rice exports from the normal 7-8 million tonnes until 2020 because of difficulties exporters face and falling production due to climate change, according to the Viet Nam Food Association. Speaking at a seminar in HCM City on December 13, Huynh The Nang, its chairman, said Viet Nam has exported 4.5 million tonnes of the grain so far this year, a year-on-year decrease of 25 per cent. Exporters are facing challenges in the form of increasing supply and competition from traditional and emerging rice export countries like Thailand, India, Pakistan and Myanmar, he said. Besides, major importing countries like the Philippines, Malaysia and China are increasing production to reduce imports and enhancing quality control of imports, he said. For instance, China, the biggest importer and not a fastidious market, recently tightened its quarantine policy for Vietnamese rice, he said. Drought and saltwater intrusion have seriously affected rice production in the Cuu Long (Mekong) Delta, the country’s granary, with output in the 2015-16 winter-spring rice crop falling by over a million tonnes, he said. With the increasing construction of hydropower dams in the upstream of the Mekong River, the delta faces a possible threat of lack of water for rice cultivation, he said.