05 Oct Rice bowl of the region
With a humid tropical to temperate climate and two monsoons annually, Vietnam’s Red River Delta in the north and the Mekong River Delta in the south are the main rice growing regions. Vietnam is one of the world’s richest agricultural regions; and one of the largest exporter worldwide (along with India and Thailand) and the world’s seventh-largest consumer of rice. Within the delta system dominated by rice, the farming system also includes aquaculture, rearing of animals, cash crops and fruit trees. Under aquaculture, fresh and saline water shrimp are raised within the paddy fields.
In 2019, Vietnam’s rice exports were estimated at 6-7 million tonnes worth around US$3.1 BN, according to the country’s ministry of agriculture and rural development. Other produce include coffee, rubber, cotton, tea, pepper, soybeans, cashews, sugarcane, peanuts, bananas, fish, seafood, and poultry. Despite Covid challenges, Vietnam was successful in retaining earnings over US$3 billion from exporting rice in 2020, according to the Vietnam Food Association (VFA). The rice sector is expected to again post high growth in 2021-22 when new-generation free trade agreements (FTAs) Vietnam has signed with foreign partners come into play such as EU and UK FTAs. Vice-Chairman of the VFA, Do Ha Nam, said 2020 was a successful year for Vietnam’s rice exports, which he attributed to increasing demand in many countries and the improved competitiveness of Vietnamese rice around the world.