The country’s biggest supplier of rice has reaffirmed its commitment to continuously supply to the Philippines, more than a week after it decided to cut down on its exports to ensure stable supply for its own people.
Michael Varcas/File
Vietnam commits continued supply of rice to Philippines
Louise Maureen Simeon (The Philippine Star) - April 4, 2020 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Vietnam will continue supplying the rice requirements of the Philippines even amid the coronavirus pandemic and its own problems in terms of production.

The country’s biggest supplier of rice has reaffirmed its commitment to continuously supply to the Philippines, more than a week after it decided to cut down on its exports to ensure stable supply for its own people.

Deputy Minister Le Quoc Doanh of Vietnam’s Ministry of Agriculture and Development said Vietnam highly values the friendly and cooperative relations with the Philippines within the ASEAN framework and bilateral cooperation on rice trade.

“The government of Vietnam always considers rice trading with the Philippines is not only of economic importance, but also of significance for our good diplomatic relations between the two nations,” Le said in a letter to Agriculture Secretary William Dar.

Vietnam is currently facing prolonged drought and saline intrusion, which greatly affected its rice production and food security.

Vietnam is reviewing its rice production and domestic supply situation to make appropriate rice export management plans.

“We will soon announce and provide information on rice export to the public, business and international partners,” Le said.

He added that the Philippines will be one of the first to be informed of the revised rice export policy. Le also said Vietnam is working on a possible governmental agreement with Manila on rice trade.

“Our cooperation in the Southeast Asian region, especially with Vietnam, remains intact as we encourage our trading counterparts to refrain from imposing restrictive measures and ensure that existing supply contracts are honored and given priority for delivery,” Dar said.

About 90 percent of imported rice or 1.2 million metric tons that has yet to be delivered to the country will come from Vietnam. These are all private-sector led imports under the Rice Tariffication Law.

The remaining 10 percent of the 1.37 million MT would come from Thailand and Myanmar at five percent each.

To date, the Bureau of Plant Industry has issued sanitary and phytosanitary import clearances covering a total of 1.857 million MT of rice. As of the second week of March, only 492,204 MT has arrived.

Vietnam is the country’s biggest supplier of rice, accounting for about 85 percent of total imports last year.

Currently, Vietnam is the world’s third largest rice exporter after India and Thailand. Last year, the ASEAN neighbor exported 6.37 million MT of rice, with the Philippines as its top market at 2.1 million MT.

According to the Department of Agricultural Products Processing and Market Development in Vietnam, the Philippines continued to be the leading market for exports, but both the volume and the value of rice were lower than last year.

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