The paper describes the spectacular growth of rice exports from Viet Nam during the period 1989 to 1997. From a situation of food shortages, the country is now the second largest rice exporter after Thailand. Export projections indicate that there is potential for further export growth in all but the most pessimistic scenarios. This potential is constrained, however, by the relatively underdeveloped marketing system. A few large state enterprises have access to capital and export licenses, but private traders and millers are generally small and medium enterprises with limited credit and no legal access to world markets. Recent policy changes to promote internal trade liberalization and competition between central and provincial state enterprises are encouraging, but need to be extended to allow private traders to export.
International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI)