Update: 15:35 | 30/04/2020
Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc has ordered the lifting of restrictions on rice exports, imposed for a month to ensure food security.
From May 1 the grain could be exported normally though the Ministry of Finance still needs to buy enough rice for the national reserve, he said on Tuesday.
"Amid the pandemic and unusual weather phenomena, we need to ensure the nation’s food security and protect rice farmers’ benefits. Raising prices for speculating must not be allowed," Phuc said.
Farmers harvest rice in the southern province of Soc Trang on March 10, 2020.
He instructed the Ministry of Industry and Trade to report back if there are signs that exports could affect food security.
The ministry said 6.5-6.7 million tons could be exported this year. Last year the country had shipped 6.37 million tons.
On April 10 the government had capped April exports at 400,000 tons.
Many companies complained that customs began accepting declaration forms at midnight on April 11 without prior notice, and as a result many of them with large quantities of rice stuck at ports were unable to submit their forms before the 400,000-ton threshold was reached.
Phuc has ordered the Government Inspectorate to look into possible violations in this regard.
Vietnam is the world's third largest rice exporter after India and Thailand. Last year its exports were worth $2.81 billion, with the top markets being the Philippines, Ivory Coast, China, and Malaysia.