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A First: Vietnamese and Thai Rice Cost the Same
20 | 10 | 2007
For the first time ever, Vietnamese export rice sold for a price that is as high as that being paid for Thai rice, Truong Thanh Phong, the general director of the Southern Food Company and the chairman of the Vietnam Food Association, said at a conference held at the end of September in Ho Chi Minh City when speaking about the 2007-2008 winter-spring rice crop.


In 2007, up until the end of September, 3.7 million tonnes of Vietnamese rice was sold abroad, the price averaging US$293 per tonne, US$42 per tonne higher than in 2006. This makes Vietnamese rice equal in price to that of Thai rice. Recently, Vietnamese exporters won a bid to sell 25 percent broken rice at US$350 per tonne while at the same time Thai rice was fetching US$342 per ton. An inter-ministerial group recently looked into rice prices obtained in the Cuu Long (Mekong) Delta. According to the survey, delta paddy rice averaged VND1,350 per kilo with the best price obtained being VND1,600 per kilo. This means that although farmers input expenses have gone up, rice farmers have still been able to make a profit. The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development expects the southern rice harvest this year to come in at about 20.6 million tonnes and the national harvest to be about 36 million tonnes, 700,000 tonnes more than last year.

At the beginning of this year, the Vietnam Food Association predicted that world demand for rice would be 27.2 million tonnes greater this year. However, by June of this year, that expectation was shifted up to more than 30 million tonnes. This year, India's rice harvest is down and it has exported less rice than last year. To meet basic needs it has been importing more wheat. Indonesia had never needed to import rice. This year, however, it has imported more than 1.3 million tonnes of rice, increasing world demand by that much. By July of this year, the government has allowed Vietnamese exporters to sign contracts to sell 4.5 million tonnes of rice. The demand for rice on the world market is rising and rice exporting countries, like Thailand, the biggest rice exporter, are selling less rice. Because the demand is currently quite high, rice of every kind and quality is selling very well. Even the high-yield but not exceptional quality domestic IR 50404 variety of rice can now be exported.

Grains across the board are fetching higher prices this year and this is caused in part by lower wheat harvests in several countries. In recent years, the annual Australian wheat harvest was averaging 24 million tonnes. Due to drought conditions, this year a harvest of nine million tons is expected. Next year the Australian wheat harvest is expected to rise to 12-13 million tonnes. This has caused an increased demand for rice. Because of the various pressures, the price of export rice, rice bran, wheat and other grains is expected to remain high for the foreseeable future.

In 2008, it is expected that the price obtained for Vietnamese rice will remain high and demand will remain strong. It's expected that Vietnam's neighbors, Indonesia, the Philippines and Malaysia, will be importing more rice. Vietnamese exporters have thus far signed contracts to provide four million tonnes of rice in 2008 at a set price which is fairly high. For this reason farmers can expect to get a certain price for their crop and now are concerned only about their rising input costs. This problem could be alleviated if they could increase their yield, but to do this they will need to raise their input costs by purchasing the more costly higher-yielding varieties of rice.



Source: VNE
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