Door opens for Vietnamese rice exports to EU

The recent ratification of the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA) by the National Assembly has created a window of opportunity for Vietnamese farm produce, especially rice, to enter the European market. To fully take advantage of the trade deal, however, Vietnamese producers must improve the quality of their produce.


This year marks a change in the rice production process in this paddy field in Giao Thuy district in Nam Dinh province. The move aims to raise rice quality to meet the strict standards for export to Europe. Strange as it may seem, the new production process has been welcomed by farmers.

Producing rice in large, concentrated fields has brought higher and more sustainable incomes to farmers. These fields are all managed by cooperatives, which rent out land from farmers, engage them as employees, and connect them with companies looking to buy their produce.

Rice produced in the Red River Delta has long been for domestic use, while rice from the Mekong Delta has been for export. The EVFTA has resulted in greater demand for exports, however, so this long-held principle is now changing.

Europe has a well-deserved reputation as a fastidious market, and rice farmers and producers must therefore improve product quality if they hope to leave their mark.

According to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, rice demand in the European market is not high but high quality is an absolute must. Only organic and specialty rice are therefore expected to enter the market once certified by independent organisations accredited by the EU./.