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Country Briefs

  Viet Nam

Reference Date: 18-August-2017

FOOD SECURITY SNAPSHOT

  1. Aggregate 2017 rice production expected to remain below average and close to 2016’s level

  2. Rice exports expected to recover partially from last year’s low level, while imports of wheat and maize likely to reach record highs

  3. Domestic prices of rice continued to increase in July

  4. Large number of people affected by severe weather conditions in 2016

Aggregate 2017 rice production to remain slightly below average and close to 2016’s level

The 2017 main winter/spring season paddy crop, which accounts for about 45 percent of the annual production, was harvested by June. Latest officially estimates put this season’s paddy output at 19.1 million tonnes, similar to last year’s dry weather-affected output. The lower output is mainly due to lingering salinity problems and recurrent episodes of excess rains and floods during the growing season, which affected yields in the main paddy-producing Mekong River Delta.

Planting of the 2017 summer/autumn season paddy crop, which accounts for about 35 percent of the annual production, was completed by mid-August. Overall, favourable weather conditions and adequate water supplies since the start of the season have supported planting activities and early crop development. According to the latest official estimates, as of mid-July, some 2.1 million hectares were planted with summer/autumn rice, similar to last year’s level of the corresponding period. In July, tropical storms Talas and Sonca brought strong winds, heavy rains and localized floods to the central and northern parts of the country, resulting in localized damage to standing paddy crops in low-lying areas.

Planting of the minor winter (10th Month) season, accounting for around 20 percent of the total output, is currently ongoing and will continue until mid-September. The current high domestic prices are expected to instigate an increase in plantings. Under the assumption of normal weather conditions throughout the season, production prospects for the winter season paddy are favourable.

Overall, the 2017 aggregate paddy production is forecast at 43.8 million tonnes, similar to last year’s slightly below-average level.

The 2017 maize crop is officially estimated at about 5.2 million tonnes, close to last year’s bumper level.

Rice exports expected to recover partially from last year’s low level, while imports of wheat and maize forecast to reach record highs

Rice exports in 2017 are forecast at 6.9 million tonnes, 10 percent above last year’s low level. The anticipated year-on-year increase reflects prospects of higher demand from traditional buyers, such as the Philippines and China as well as Bangladesh.

Cereal imports consist of mostly wheat and maize. In the 2016/17 marketing year (July/June), imports of wheat, which is not produced in the country, is estimated at 5.6 million tonnes, almost doubling the 2015/16 level, reflecting higher domestic demand for both high-quality wheat for milling and low-quality wheat for animal feed. Similarly, maize imports are estimated at 8.8 million tonnes, about 14 percent more than the previous year’s high level, reflecting increased demand from the feed industry. Demand for feed crops has risen significantly in the last three years, mainly reflecting increasing domestic pork consumption and high demand for pork from China.

Domestic prices of rice continued to increase in July

Wholesale prices of rice, the main staple food, continued to increase in July reaching their highest level since December 2014, more than 10 percent higher than in July last year. The recent steep increases reflect tight availabilities due to the reduced main crop output and the strong demand. Heavy rains over parts of the Mekong Delta, which slowed the harvest of the early summer-autumn crops, added further upward pressure.

Large number of people affected by severe weather conditions in 2016 and 2017

A prolonged drought and saltwater intrusion during 2016 severely affected more than 2 million people in 18 out of 58 provinces, mainly in the Mekong Delta, Central Highland and South Central regions. Recurrent floods in October and December 2016 and the passage of tropical storms Talas and Sonca in July 2017, caused a series of floods mostly concentrated in South-Central Region and southern parts of North Central Coast, parts of Central Highlands and northern parts of the country, negatively impacting on livelihoods of a large number people. Reports indicate losses of livestock and food stocks as well as damage to housing and infrastructure. The drought in 2016 and recurrent floods at the end of 2016 and July 2017caused the loss of income and purchasing power among the most affected households, due to the reduced production of paddy for sale for two consecutive years, a decrease in agricultural labour opportunities and increased retail prices. Many of these households have not yet recovered fully and require humanitarian assistance.

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