Vietnam to hold coffee, rice export volumes

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Vietnam, the world's second-largest rice exporter and second-biggest producer of robusta coffee, aims to maintain its current export volumes of both commodities during the next decade, the agriculture minister said.

"Our strategy in the next 10 years is to improve the quality and to add more values to the commodities to increase the export values, rather than concentrate on raising the volumes," Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Cao Duc Phat said in an interview on Sunday at the World Economic Forum in Ho Chi Minh City.

The volume of Vietnamese rice exports rose 25 percent last year to 5.95 million tons, while their value fell 8 percent from the previous year to $2.66 billion, according to the General Statistics Office in the capital, Hanoi. Vietnam ranks second in rice exports after Thailand.

Vietnam's export volumes of robusta one of the world's two main commercial varieties of coffee, along with arabica rose 10 percent to 1.17 million tons, with their value dropping 19 percent to $1.7 billion. Brazil is the world's top robusta producer, followed by Vietnam.

The State Bank of Vietnam, the nation's central bank, has devalued the dong, the country's currency, twice since November. The dong has weakened 5.7 percent since Nov. 25, including that month's devaluation, according to Bloomberg data.

The Southeast Asian nation expects its economy to grow this year by between 6.5 percent and 7 percent, up from 5.3 percent last year, Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung said Sunday.

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