Ministry wants rice export ban lifted

By Nguyen Hoai   March 31, 2020 | 01:10 am PT
Ministry wants rice export ban lifted
Farmers harvest rice in southern Can Tho City. Photo by VnExpress/Thanh Tran.
The Ministry of Industry and Trade has asked the government to lift a ban it imposed on rice exports, saying that the position now is comfortable.

The country could export 400,000 tonnes of rice each in April and May after retaining stocks of 700,000 tonnes, the Ministry of Industry and Trade said in a new report to Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc.

It proposed that 400,000 tonnes should first be exported in April and the Prime Minister could decide the May volume in the last week of April.

The proposed exports in April and May are 40 percent lower than in the same period last year, it added.

The ministry expects rice production this year to exceed demand by 6.7 million tonnes and said this volume could be exported.

But it agreed exports should be carefully controlled to safeguard the country’s food security amid the pandemic.

It also wants 20 major traders to each sign contracts with at least one supermarket chain to meet domestic demand when required or lose their export certificates.

The government banned exports on March 24 following a request by the ministry after exports surged 32.6 percent in the first two months, with a seven-fold rise in shipments to China.

Rice traders said the sudden ban resulted in million-dollar worth of cargo idling at ports.

Experts said that the ban could cause prices to plummet and farmers to suffer losses.

Vietnam is the world's third largest rice exporter after India and Thailand. Last year it exported 6.37 million tons worth $2.81 billion, with the top markets being the Philippines, Ivory Coast, Malaysia, and China.

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