In 1989, Vietnam exported rice for the first time, ending the period of rice shortage and turning to export. Over 30 years (1989-2021), up to now, rice production in Vietnam has achieved a lot of proud achievements, and Vietnamese rice grains are present in more than 150 countries/territories, becoming one of the three major rice exporting countries in the world.
- 1 A long history of rice production in Vietnam
- 2 Rice production in Vietnam keeps growing through the years
- 3 Rice production in Vietnam for export has achieved much progress
- 4 Main areas of rice production in Vietnam
- 5 Planting season
- 6 Varieties of rice production in Vietnam
- 7 Opportunities for more sustainable rice production in Vietnam
- 8 K-Agriculture and the trip to bring Vietnam’s rice to the world
A long history of rice production in Vietnam
In comparison to other Asian countries, Vietnam has a long history of cultivation and producing rice. It is said that the activities of rice production in Vietnam appeared for the first time from 3000 to 2000 BC when the ancient Vietnamese started to domesticate wild rice into farming and food for daily life.
- Before 1975, rice was grown on about 1.8 million hectares in the Northern delta and 2.7 million hectares in the Southern region respectively, with about 2.4 and 3 million tons produced annually. Old grain, one corporation every year, was prone to fall, and low output dominated during this period. It can be said that rice production in Vietnam at this time was very unproductive.
- In the period from 1979 to 1985, rice production in Vietnam, though increased strongly from 11.800 tons/year to 15.900 tons/year, was still stuck in the condition of lacking food due to border conflicts, debt repayment, and inefficient cooperative farm management.
- From the renovation of “Doi Moi” in 1986 to now, rice production in Vietnam has achieved impressive progress, transforming it from a nation that frequently experienced food shortages to one that currently exports from 3 to 4 million tonnes of rice annually, ranking second in exporting rice in the world.
Rice production in Vietnam keeps growing through the years
According to a study by the Alliance for Sustainable Agriculture, since the late 1980s, Vietnam’s rice industry has developed in the direction of increasing production. Rice production in Vietnam has increased from 19.23 million tons (1990) to 32.53 million tons (2000) and 43-45 million tons (2010 to present). This rise in rice production in Vietnam is explained by the growth of the rice harvesting area, a greater yield, and also the increase in using fertilizer and pesticides.
The harvested area increased from 7.1 million hectares in 1997 to 7.7 million hectares in 2017. In 2013, 7.9 million hectares of rice were harvested, which was a record.
However, the area of rice production in Vietnam in 2020 was estimated at 7.28 million hectares, down 192 thousand hectares from the previous year due to the change in the structure of rice production in Vietnam and land use purposes; rice yield was estimated at 58.7 quintals/ha, an increase of 0.5 quintals/ha. Due to the decrease in the cultivated area, rice production in Vietnam was estimated at 42.69 million tons, down 806.6 thousand tons. Thus, the rice production in Vietnam in 2020 was lower than that of 2019 mainly due to the reduction of the cultivated area due to the impact of drought, salinity intrusion, change of land use purpose, conversion of crop structure, and conversion season but marked a successful year of rice production in Vietnam with higher yields than the previous year in all seasons.
In 2021, rice production in Vietnam continues to take off. Rice area for the whole year reached 7.24 million hectares, down about 38.3 thousand hectares when compared to 2020 due to the change in the structure of rice production in Vietnam and land use purposes, but the rice yield, which increased by 1.8 quintals/ha, was high at 60. 6 quintals/ha.
Rice production in Vietnam in 2021 was estimated to increase by 1.1 million tons compared to rice production in Vietnam in 2020, continue to meet domestic consumption demand, and ensure food security, serve to process, and export. Rice exports in 2021 reached 6.2 million tons, equivalent to 3.3 billion USD, up 5% compared to the previous year.
Rice production in Vietnam for export has achieved much progress
Vietnam used to be a food-insecure nation, but since 1989, rice exports have started to increase as local consumption has been fulfilled.
Vietnam exported approximately 6.4 million tons of rice on average between 2010 and 2020, representing nearly 20% of the country’s total output rice production in Vietnam.
The General Department of Customs’ preliminary figures shows that during the first 5 months of 2022, vietnam rice export totaled close to 2.77 million tons, valued at about 1.35 billion USD with an average export price of 489 USD/ton that grew over time. 6.6 percent less in volume, but 4 percent less in value and a 9.9 percent higher price than at the same time in 2021.
With 34% of the total, the Philippines was Vietnam’s largest rice importer. Followed by China, Malaysia, and Ghana.
Main areas of rice production in Vietnam
In terms of rice production, Vietnam has outstanding comparative advantages. According to IRRI, rice fields make up 82 percent of the country’s farmland, and rice production in Vietnam currently plays a significant role in the development of the country, both in social and economic aspects.
The Mekong Delta, Central Coast, Red River Delta, and Northern Mountainous regions are the four primary regions for rice production in Vietnam. Each is characterized by its own climate and geographic features but has contributed to the prosperity of Vietnamese rice.
Regional share in rice production in Vietnam – Source: GSO (2019)
- Mekong River Delta: Among them, the Mekong River Delta is responsible for about 52% of the total rice production in Vietnam. About 36,000 km2 of the Mekong Delta is a rich land with a good climate. With 1.8 million hectares of total paddy area, this is Vietnam’s largest rice bowl. Despite having only 12% of the nation’s arable land, this area is the home to 22% of Vietnamese people, produces 40% of the nation’s food, and accounts for 90% volume of the nation’s rice production in Vietnam for export.
- Red River Delta is the second-largest rice production in Vietnam, where a wet rice civilization that includes 11 provinces and a surface area of over 15,000 km2 was created thousands of years ago by the natural sediments deposition of two major rivers, Thai Binh and the Red River. 1.4 million hectares of rice are planted in the Red River Delta, however, due to intensive cultivation, the rice output grown from the Red River Delta is far less productive than in the Mekong Delta. This area contributes about 18% of the total rice production in Vietnam.
The majority of rice production in Vietnam is wet rice, which is cultivated in flooded fields as opposed to the dry ground since it requires a steady supply of water.
Vietnam mostly cultivates three types of crops: winter-spring, summer-autumn, and summer. To learn more about the timing of each crop, check out the table below:
|Crop||Planting time||Harvesting time|
|Summer (main)||May – Aug||Sep-Dec|
|Winter-Spring||Dec – Feb||Apr-Jun|
Table: The seasons of rice production in Vietnam
Varieties of rice production in Vietnam
Sticky rice and regular rice of excellent and normal grade are the two main types of rice production in Vietnam. According to their structures, forms, and colors, the many types of ordinary rice in Vietnam are categorized as follows.
There are three popular types of rice, long-grain rice, medium-grain rice, and short-grain rice.
Based on rice color, rice production in Vietnam could be classified into white rice, brown rice, red and black rice.
Regarding the quality of rice, rice production in Vietnam could be divided into two types, they are normal rice such as IR504, OM5451…, and specialty – which is often fragrant rice like Jasmine, Japonica, KDM, Huong Lai… In fact, Vietnam has a lot of specialty rice that has a very delicious flavor but is still mostly known locally.
By 2020, high-quality rice will make up 75–80% of the total rice production in Vietnam, while in the past, this rate was just about 35 to 40 % of the structure of rice production in Vietnam. As a result, this explains the reason behind a sharp increase in the price of Vietnam’s export rice recently.
According to updated data from the VFA (Vietnam Food Association), the export price of rice production in Vietnam including 5%, 25%, and 100% broken rice was also considerably higher than the price of the same type of rice produced in India and Pakistan, which was $423 per ton, 403 dollars per ton, and 378 dollars per ton, respectively (on June 10, 2022). However, compared to Thai rice, the price of rice production in Vietnam is still slightly lower. And the price of Vietnam’s exported rice is not expected to rise any time soon, according to forecasts.
“In general, the structure of rice production in Vietnam and Vietnam’s exported rice are steadily changing in favor of more fragrant, japonica, specialty, and high-grade white rice. The price of Vietnam’s exported rice, therefore, is higher with more added values.”
Opportunities for more sustainable rice production in Vietnam
Along with the above-mentioned difficulties, various chances have emerged in recent years to facilitate the growth of rice production in Vietnam:
- As income levels rise and consumer food tastes shift, there is a raising need for higher quality rice on a nationwide scale. Smallholder farmers now have the chance to raise the standard of rice production in Vietnam while also increasing their revenue thanks to this trend.
- The Vietnamese government has released a policy framework for reorganizing the rice industry that transfers the government’s priorities: from large quantity to better quality, from “food security” policy to “food safety”, and from a sector dominated by supply to one driven by the market. These policies support rice production in Vietnam a lot.
- The favorable tariffs included in the bilateral and many other multilateral free trade agreements signed by Vietnam and other nations, such as the EU-Vietnam (EVFTA) and UK-Vietnam FTAs (UVFTA), would make it easier for rice production in Vietnam to compete with rice from other nations. If the quality of Vietnam’s exported rice is properly managed, export quotas of Vietnamese rice on the EU market will soon expand, and many partners will be encouraged to look to purchase Vietnamese rice. These are the chances for rice production in Vietnam to create and improve its own national rice brand.
K-Agriculture and the trip to bring Vietnam’s rice to the world
Starting as a small merchant selling rice and coffee beans from Vietnam to China in 1996, K-Agriculture company, with its expanding strength and experiences, changed its name to the National Project in 2020 and was supported by the Vietnam Ministry of Industry and Trade.
K-Agriculture now is one of the leading rice factories in Vietnam and has had success presenting in picky markets throughout the world such as Africa, the USA, and Japan. The companies can produce 10,000 tons of high-quality rice each month thanks to their contemporary and cutting-edge production lines and teams of hundreds of competent laborers. Our product satisfies both domestic and international requirements. Today, we are proud to be one of the leading rice exporters in Vietnam, exporting about 50,000 tons of high-quality rice to over 24 countries in the world.
At K-Agriculture, we use a cooperative association model, working with farmers in strictly controlled production processes and according to the standards prescribed by the Ministry of Agriculture and the state.
On the other hand, we always try to produce in a sustainable way, apply technology and constantly improve to ensure high-quality rice grains meet the SRP standard and export requirements. We are creating a community, where farmers and enterprises have the same mindset in the way of building our national rice brand!
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