Viet Nam

GIEWS Country Briefs Viet Nam 21-August-2020

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FOOD SECURITY SNAPSHOT

  1. Production of 2020 main "winter/spring" paddy crop estimated close to average level

  2. Exports of rice forecast close to 2019 level

  3. Imports of maize in 2020/21 expected to reach near‑record levels

  4. Domestic prices of rice at high levels

  5. African Swine Fever outbreaks severely affected pig industry in 2019

Production of 2020 main "winter/spring" paddy crop estimated close to average level

Harvesting of the 2020, mostly irrigated, main "winter/spring" paddy crop, accounting for 46 percent of the annual output, concluded in June and the production is officially estimated at 19.9 million tonnes, close to the five‑year average. The area planted is estimated slightly below the previous five‑year average due to dryness and salinity intrusion in parts of the Mekong River Delta (the country's main rice‑growing region in the south), but overall yield results were positive.

Planting of the 2020 "summer/autumn" paddy crop, which accounts for about 35 percent of the annual production, was slightly delayed due to below‑average rains in May and early June and salinity. According to the latest official estimates, about 1.8 million hectares were planted, as of mid‑July, 4 percent below the previous year's corresponding period. Planting of the 2020 minor winter (10^th^ month) paddy crop, accounting for about 20 percent of the annual output, started in June and is expected to continue until September.

Harvesting of the 2020 main maize crop was completed in June and official estimates put this season's output at a below‑average level of 1.9 million tonnes. The decrease in production mostly reflects a reduction in the area planted as farmers preferred to grow vegetables instead of maize. Planting operations of the 2020 secondary maize crop are ongoing with a slight delay due to below‑average rains in the central parts of the country.

Imports of maize projected at near‑record level in 2020/21

Cereal import requirements, mostly maize and wheat, in the 2020/21 marketing year (July/June) are forecast at a near‑record level of 15.5 million tonnes, 10 percent above the five‑year average. Import requirements of maize are forecast close to last year's record level of 11.5 million tonnes, supported by the growing demand by the feed industry that accelerated from 2012. Import requirements of wheat, which is not produced in the country, are forecast at 3.6 million tonnes, 10 percent below the five‑year average, reflecting a decrease in the demand for feed use.

Rice exports are forecast at 7.1 million tonnes in the 2020 calendar year, close to the 2019 level.

Domestic prices of rice at high levels

Domestic prices of rice have been increasing since the beginning of 2020, sustained by a strong demand by importing countries. Between March and April 2020, prices of rice surged by 30 percent due to panic buying by households amid the COVID‑19 pandemic and concerns over the impact of dry weather conditions on the 2020 "winter/spring" output. In June, prices of rice decreased reflecting the improved supplies from the early "summer/autumn" harvest and a decline in foreign demand. Overall, prices in June 2020 were 40 percent above their year‑earlier levels.

African Swine Fever outbreaks severely affected pig industry in 2019

The country, which is the fifth largest producer and consumer of pork meat in the world, has been severely affected by several outbreaks of African Swine Fever (ASF) in 2019 and early 2020. According to the latest available official estimates, as of mid‑March 2020, at least 6 million pigs, accounting for more than 20 percent of the national herd, have died or have been culled due to ASF. Animal losses have caused a substantial reduction of farmers' income, raising concerns over the livelihoods and the food security situation of about 2.5 million pig farming households.

COVID‑19 and measures adopted by the Government

As of mid‑June 2020, the number of confirmed cases of COVID‑19 was minimal. As a measure to prevent the spread of the virus, the Government has imposed countrywide lockdown and movement restriction measures, which were removed from 23 April 2020. Most schools, universities and non‑essential services have re‑opened since 7 May 2020.

In April 2020, the Government announced the implementation of a VND 271 trillion (USD 11.7 billion) package to support the national economy. Measures included:

  1. Tax relief by deferring Value Added Tax (VAT) and Corporate Income Tax (CIT).

  2. Support for land tenants by deferring land rental fees by five months.

  3. The one‑year exemption of the business registration tax for newly established household businesses.

  4. First three‑year exemption of business registration tax for Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs).

In addition, the Government approved a VND 36 trillion (USD 1.6 billion) programme to support affected workers and households with monthly cash transfers for a period of three months (from April to June). It is estimated that more than 10 percent of the country's total population has benefitted from this programme.