English News

  • youtube
  • facebook
  • twitter

Vietnam imports Indian rice after a decade as local prices soar

Indian rice exports

India is exporting rice to Vietnam—the world's third biggest exporter of rice, for the first time in decades. The South East Asian country is buying rice from India to curb an increase in local prices and also due to low domestic availability.

News agency Reuters reported on Tuesday that Vietnam is "buying the grain from rival India for the first time in decades after local prices jumped to their highest in nine years amid limited domestic supplies…" Reuters quoted BV Krishna Rao, president of the Rice Exporters Association, as saying: "For the first time we are exporting to Vietnam… Indian prices are very attractive.

The huge price difference is making exports possible." India is likely to export 70,000 tonnes of broken rice in January and February and could witness increased exports across the world. This news comes on heels of another surprising news in December last year that even China is importing rice from India due to local shortage of food. China had been avoiding buying Indian rice on pretexts like 'quality' for decades. But due to shortage of staple food – rice and pork – during 2020, China has turned to India for its food security.

China, which is the largest importer of rice, started buying rice from India after three decades as supplies in other Asian countries began declining. Historically, it used to buy rice from Pakistan, Vietnam and other South East Asian countries. Hit by widespread and prolonged floods in the Yangtse basin, which damaged its crops extensively, the communist country was staring at food insecurity in 2020. Due to the shortage of both rice and pork, President Xi Jinping had to appeal to people to control their food habits and reduce food wastage.

Even internationally, rice production and trade has been hit due to the spread of coronavirus. However, India is sitting on a large stock of rice. Traders say that if Indian prices remain competitive, the country would be in a position to export more. Besides China and Vietnam, India is exporting rice to many Asian and African countries.

India and Vietnam have been strengthening their mutual relations at the highest level. With Prime Minister Narendra Modi's "Act East" policy, India has been expanding its ties not just with the 10-member Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) grouping but also with a number of South East Asian countries.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Vietnamese counterpart Nguyen Xuan Phuc held a virtual summit in December last year with a commitment to developing a strong Indo-Pacific region and working together in the UN Security Council (UNSC). The two countries are guided in their relations by the Comprehensive Strategic Partnership (CSP) that was signed on Modi's visit to Hanoi in 2016.

India has also extended a Defence Line of Credit worth to Vietnam so that the latter can procure defence equipment from India and strengthen its defence capacities with Indian help. In November, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh had signed the Hydrographic cooperation agreement with his Vietnamese counterpart General Ngo Xuan Lich, which allows both countries to share information on navigational charts for their navies.