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Reference Date: 28-July-2015


  1. Poor rains affect crops in parts but overall prospects for 2015 aggregate rice production remain favourable

  2. Rice exports in 2015 are forecast slightly below last year’s low level

  3. Domestic prices of rice declined slightly in first two weeks of July

Planting of the 2015 summer/autumn season rice crops has been delayed by dry weather in parts

Planting of the 2015 summer/autumn season paddy crop is nearing completion, with the bulk already planted between April and June. Below-average rainfall, coupled with warmer-than-usual temperatures from April to early July delayed planting operations somewhat and the yield potential of the earliest planted crops has likely been negatively affected. According to official estimates, as of mid-June, summer/autumn rice had been sown on some 1.9 million hectares, 6 percent below the area planted by the same time last year. In 2014 the total area sown to the summer/autumn crop was 2.7 million hectares. The regions most affected by the dry weather are Central Highlands, North Central and Central Coastal areas, but also parts of the southern main rice-growing Mekong River Delta. According to official information, in these regions water levels in reservoirs and rivers is well below-average, following considerably reduced rains since early 2015. There is also some concern about planting of the 10th Month (winter) season rice crop, which has just started and will continue into October. Output from the 2015 main winter/spring season rice crop, harvesting of which was completed by June, is officially estimated at 20.7 million tonnes, close to the record of 2014 for the same season. Overall, based on the estimates for the already-harvested winter/spring crops and the early outlook for the ongoing 2015 summer/autumn and the 10th Month (winter) seasons, FAO tentatively forecasts the 2015 aggregate rice production at 44.7 million tonnes, close to last year’s bumper level. On average, the almost entirely irrigated winter/spring paddy crop amounts to about 46 percent of the annual paddy production, while the remaining two seasons, summer/autumn and 10th Month account for 32 and 22 percent, respectively.

Planting of the 2015 mostly rainfed summer/autumn maize crop is nearing completion. The current dry weather has likely delayed planting operations, which could lead to a reduction in area and negatively affect yields in localized parts of Central Highlands, North Central and Central Coastal areas. These areas together normally account for close to 60 percent of the overall maize output. Latest official estimates put the 2015 winter/spring maize crop, harvested by April, at 2.5 million tonnes, 4 percent up on last year’s high level for the corresponding season. This is mainly the result of higher yields, following favourable weather conditions in the Northern Midland and Mountain areas, where about 80 percent of winter/spring maize is grown, coupled with the use of genetically-modified high-yielding varieties. Based on the good result of the winter/spring crop, but assuming a small decrease in plantings and yields for the second 2015 crop, FAO tentatively forecasts the aggregate 2015 maize production at 5 million tonnes, 4 percent below last year’s record level.

The ongoing dry weather may be attributed to the current global El Niño event, which is often associated with dry weather in the region, although no precise quantitative association between the occurrence of El Niño and its impact on agricultural production can be deduced. Its impact on crops very much depends on the timing and intensity of the phenomenon. Currently, reports from the main meteorological and oceanic institutions stipulate that El Niño conditions will likely strengthen in the coming months and persist through 2015/16 winter.

Rice exports in 2015 are forecast slightly below last year’s low level

Rice exports in 2015 are forecast at 6.3 million tonnes, slightly below last year’s low level. According to Viet Nam Customs, cumulative exports between January and mid-July 2015 are estimated at 3.4 million tonnes, some 4 percent below the exported volumes in the same period last year.

Cereal imports consist mostly of wheat and maize. During the 2015/16 marketing year (July/June), wheat and maize imports are forecast at 2.3 and 4.5 million tonnes, respectively. Rice imports in 2015 are forecast to remain similar to last year’s average level of 550 000 tonnes.

Domestic prices of rice declined slightly in first two weeks of July

Wholesale prices of rice, the main staple food, decreased slightly in the first two weeks of July, pressured by good supplies from the recently-harvested 2015 winter/spring crop. Weak export demand also added to the downward pressure on prices. Overall, rice prices were well below the levels a year earlier.

Relevant links:
 Food Price Data and Analysis Tool
 Earth Observation Indicators
 Seasonal Indicators
 Vegetation Indicators
 Precipitation Indicators
 Graphs & Data
 NDVI & Precipitation
From FAO:
 FAO Country Profiles

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