Vietnam’s rice exports to the UK drop by 20 percent

The Ministry of Industry and Trade, on the morning of July 13, informed that the amount of Vietnamese rice exported to the UK was at risk of a sharp decline because rice from other countries captured the market share.
Vietnam’s rice exports to the UK drop by 20 percent ảnh 1 Vietnam's rice exports to the UK drop by 20 percent. (Photo:

The volume of rice imported into the UK increased by 13.5 percent in 2020, from 671,601 tons in 2019 to 762,526 tons. Rice imported from Vietnam rose from 1,296 tons, worth US$1.29 million, to 3,396 tons, worth $2.67 million, in the same period. Thus, Vietnam's rice exports to the UK in 2020 have surged spectacularly by 116 percent in volume and 106 percent in value compared to 2019.

However, the volume of rice imported into the UK suddenly decreased by 15 percent in 2021, from 762,526 tons in 2020 to 651,803 tons. The corresponding value declined by 8 percent from about $520.6 million to $574.7 million.

Supply from Southeast Asia saw a sharp decrease. Specifically, rice imports from Thailand dropped by 43 percent, Myanmar by 63 percent, and Cambodia by 51 percent.

Meanwhile, the amount of rice imported from Vietnam slid by 20 percent, from 3,396 tons to 2,731 tons. However, the rice export value in 2021 reached $2.76 million, up 4 percent compared to 2020, thanks to the increase in unit price.

Among Southeast Asian countries that export rice to the UK, Vietnam had the highest average unit price of $1,012 per ton, while the average unit price of rice from Thailand, Cambodia, and Myanmar was $999, $991, and $502 per ton, respectively.

In contrast to the declining supply from Southeast Asia, four countries increased rice exports to the UK in 2021, including the Netherlands with an increase of 22,396 tons, with a unit price of $696 per ton, equivalent to an increase of 67 percent, Argentina with an increase of 5,194 tons, with a unit price of $569 per ton, equivalent to 68 percent, India increased 2 percent, and Pakistan increased 1 percent.

Rice consumers in the UK are mainly Asian communities, in which the largest and second-largest are the Indian and Pakistani communities. As a result, the market share of Indian and Pakistani rice accounts for a high proportion of 27 percent and 20 percent, respectively. The most used rice in the UK currently is Bastima rice.

Vietnam's commercial counselor in the UK, Mr. Nguyen Canh Cuong, said that Vietnam ranks 15th among rice exporting countries to the UK, with a market share of only 0.42 percent. The room for Vietnamese rice in the UK can also be expanded thanks to the 100,000 people of Vietnamese origin and the tariff quotas in the UKVFTA.

However, to turn this potential into reality, rice growers and exporters need to thoroughly apply the GlobalGAP standard on a large scale, and at the same time, promote the production of high-quality fragrant rice.

The Department of Crop Production, the Department of Plant Protection, and the local governments with large areas of rice land need to implement programs to support farmers in rice varieties, safe agricultural materials, and milling and storing rice before exporting.