HANOI, VIETNAM — Uncompetitive prices led to lower estimated rice exports from Vietnam in 2020-21, according to a July 1 Global Agricultural Information Network report from the US Department of Agriculture (USDA).

The USDA revised its 2020-21 export estimate lower to 6.1 million tonnes and shifted its import estimate up to 800,000 tonnes.

The report noted that exports are forecast to rebound in 2021-22 to 6.4 million tonnes, with imports declining to 500,000 tonnes.

“Due to uncompetitive prices, Vietnam is losing its market share for white rice to other competitors,” the USDA said. “According to Vietnam Customs, rice exports declined by 15% in the first five months of calendar year 2021.”

The Philippines remained the largest importer of Vietnam rice, accounting for 36% of the total exports, although quantity dropped by 27% to 944,000 tonnes in 2020-21, the report said.

Lower exports to the Philippines and Malaysia (down 53%) were partially offset by gains in China (12%), Ivory Coast (29%) and Ghana (28%).

Due to higher yields in the spring and fall crops, Vietnam milled rice production in the 2020-21 marketing year is estimated at 27.4 million tonnes, 1.2% higher than the previous year.

Yield increased to nearly 6 tonnes per hectare in 2020-21, up from 5.8 tonnes per hectare the previous year.