HANOI: Vietnam is a big rice exporter, but the world only knows Its white rice products with different broken grain proportions.
Vietnam’s rice exports do not bear a Vietnam brand, but they are put in bags with import countries’ labels. In the domestic market, Vietnam’s rice is less favored than imports from Thailand, Cambodia, Taiwan and Japan.
Vietnam exports rice to 80 countries and territories, but it has to compete fiercely with Thailand, India and Pakistan in the markets, and with Myanmar and Cambodia in the future.
A report of the General Statistics Office (GSO) shows that Vietnam’s key export market is China, but the market is always unstable and unpredictable.While Vietnam mostly exports rice to China across the border gate, Thailand, Myanmar and Cambodia have signed G2G (government to government) export contracts with the country.
Meanwhile, Asian markets (the Philippines, Indonesia and Malaysia) have had big changes recently as the governments have set up a program to develop rice production in the countries to restrict imports.
In African markets, the biggest rice importers, Vietnam has to compete fiercely with India and Pakistan to sell 25 percent broken rice, and with China to sell 5 percent broken rice.
In April 2014, Vietnam’s 15 percent broken rice was $436.5 per ton, which was far below the price levels offered by three other contractors from France, Hong Kong and Thailand.
And these are reasons why the national program on developing Vietnam’s rice brand by 2020 has been launched. Vietnam wants to build up a national rice brand in order to help Vietnam’s rice sell at higher prices and cement Vietnam’s firm position in the world’s rice market.
Analysts pointed out that the program on developing rice brand has just been approved, the coordination mechanism remains unclear. Also, Vietnam still doesn’t have high-quality rice varieties in large scale and sustainable production environment.
There is no close cooperation among businesses, farmers and researchers, and farmers and exporters lack information about key markets.
In addition, Vietnam lacks attractive brandnames to advertise in domestic and foreign markets. Dan Viet quoted some experts as reporting that Vietnam’s rice has low and unstable quality because many rice varieties are used in production, while there is no material growing area large enough. In Mekong Delta alone, there are 100 rice varieties in use.
“It is impossible to control rice brand with too many varieties,” an expert said, adding that Thai national brand is applied only to two varieties KDML 105 and RD 15.