The country's rice exports may fall to 6.2 million tons from the 7.2 million tons of last year.
The ministry said the country's traditional markets including the Philippines and Indonesia have reduced their rice imports from Vietnam, despite increases in rice demand from Asia and Africa, including China, Malaysia, Senegal and the Ivory Coast.
According to the Vietnam Food Association (VFA), so far this year Vietnamese companies have signed contracts for exports of 5 million tons of rice by the end of the year, and 2.7 million tons of that amount have been shipped to buyers.
The remaining 2.3 million tons will be shipped later this year.
By the end of June, a total of 3.3 million tons of rice will be delivered to buyers.
Truong Thanh Phong, VFA chairman and general director of the Southern Food Corporation (Vinafood 2), said that in June Mekong farmers would harvest 400,000 ha of the over 1.5 million ha under the summer – autumn rice crop.
Some 8.6 million tons of paddy, including over 5 million tons of commercial paddy (equivalent to 2.5 million tons of rice for export), are expected to be harvested in this summer – autumn crop.
With some 680,000 ha under rice cultivation, this year's autumn – winter crop, which is scheduled to be harvested in November, is expected to bring in an additional 3.3 million tons of paddy.
In all, some 11.7 million tons of paddy will be harvested in the coming summer – autumn and autumn – winter crops, and an additional 3.5 million tons of rice will be available for export in 2012.
Phong said it would be easy to sell off the high-quality rice under the autumn – winter crop but rather difficult to find buyers for lower-quality rice of the summer – autumn crop.
The latter has been facing harsh competition from low-quality rice from India and Myanmar.
Under such a situation, VFA has sent an official dispatch to the ministries of Finance, Agriculture and Rural Development, and Industry and Trade, asking the ministries to announce the production costs of summer – autumn crop 2012, and to extend the bank loans provided to VFA members for purchasing 1 million tons of rice in reserves.
VFA has also asked the ministries to issue policies on consumption of rice under the summer – autumn crop that will be harvested mostly in July and August.