Stop export of regular rice: Finance Ministry

By Anh Minh   April 9, 2020 | 06:51 pm PT
Stop export of regular rice: Finance Ministry
People shop for rice in a supermarket in District 1, Ho Chi Minh City on March 31, 2020. Photo by VnExpress/Thanh Nguyen.
The Finance Ministry has proposed that export of regular rice is stopped until mid-June to build reserves and ensure national food security.

It said in a letter to the Ministry of Industry and Trade that the government plans to buy 190,000 tonnes of regular rice for reserves, and traders have been awarded bids for 178,000 tonnes. However, when some companies see rising demand for exports, they are delaying the signing of contracts and not negotiating sales, it added.

The Finance Ministry, therefore, suggested that the trade ministry asks Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc to halt exports of regular rice until June 15 to ensure national reserves. Exports of glutinous rice and other types of rice can still be allowed, it said.

It also proposed that the PM orders the Vietnam Northern Food Corporation (Vinafood1) and its subsidiaries that win bids to commit to selling their rice for national reserves.

On March 24, the PM had imposed a rice export ban until late May to ensure national food security amid the novel coronavirus pandemic, but the trade ministry had proposed that it be lifted, arguing that supply will exceed demand by 6.7 million tonnes for the year.

The trade ministry was reported to be finalizing its proposal to the PM with traders saying the sudden ban has resulted in millions of dollars worth of rice idling at ports. Some experts also said that the ban could cause prices to plummet and farmers would 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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