Attempt to keep rice market in Mexico

Mexico is a  new market but very potential for Vietnamese rice. Therefore, ahead of new regulations on rice imported from Viet Nam issued by this country, enterprises need have prompt modifications to meet new regulation  and step up  rice export to  this country.


As to Mr. Hoang Tuan Viet, Vietnam Commercial Counselor in Mexico, in early this year, National Service of Agro Alimentary Health, Safety and Quality (SENASICA) under Secretary of Agriculture, Livestock, Rural Development, Fishery and Food (SAGARPA) has already announced regulations on rice imported from Vietnam to Mexico.

Accordingly, since 31st January, 2013, Vietnamese polished rice imported to Mexico shall have plant quarantine certificate which specifies product origin from Vietnamese Mekong Delta. This means that rice produced in the North, the Central and South-Eastern regions of Viet Nam  can not export  to Mexico.

Rice must not have any species of 12 following insects: Alphitobius diaperinus; Alphitobius laevigatus; Callosobruchus chinensis; Corcyra cephalonica; Dinoderus minutus;  Latheticus oryzae; Lophocateres pusillus; Palorus foveicollis; Palorus ratzeburgi; Palorus subdepressus; Setomorpha rutella and Tenebroides mauritanicus.

Rice exported to Mexico must not contain other grain, cereals or soil. Rice must be fumigated in Vietnam with Aluminium phosphide TFA tablet or powder under normal atmospheric pressure.



Rice export in Saigon port

Rice is packed in new, airtight and user-friendly polyethylene bag (PE bag) with net weight  not exceed 50kg. Package must specify product name, origin and brands must be considered ahead of launch for sale in Mexico.

As to Mr. Nguyen Van Nga, Head of Plant Quarantine Division 2 (Plant Protection Department), Plant Protection Department and Plant Quarantine Division 2 have given specific instructions for rice exporters to meet above-mentioned requirements by Mexico.

For example, to prevent rice from being infected with any species of 12 insects prohibited by Mexico as well as mixed with soil or other grain, enterprises must carry out fumigation process before polishing rice. After that, they must separate all other grain or cereals etc. from rice.

One enterprise in An Giang has set up an exclusive highly-automated process for export rice processing to Mexico. After coming to the enterprise’s warehouse, rice will be absorbed from boats right into drying store. After drying, rice will be transferred to conveyor belt for husking.

Husked rice will be processed to become finished product which moves back to conveyer belt for transport by lighter. Thanks to such high automation, it’s quite capable of eliminating impurities and insects from rice.

Mr. Nga added, before 2013, there had been no rice consignment from Vietnam exported to Mexico. However, in recent months, 5 rice exporters have exported rice to this country despite above-mentioned technical barriers.

Although rice export output to Mexico is quite little with only 2,693 tons, such figure shows that Vietnamese rice still enters markets which have issued rather severe technical barriers if it is processed by a strict process.

However, there are still difficulties in rice export to Mexico. While Mexico regulates the use of PE bags in rice packaging,  But for long time Vietnamese export rice has been packed in polypropylene bags (PP) . Vietnamese rice exported to Mexico is even packed in this kind of bags.

This was because in late March, Trade Office- Embassy of Vietnam in Mexico met Head of Plant Protection Department under SENASICA Mexico. At this meeting, Trade Office informed SENASICA Mexico that in 2012, Vietnam was the world’s second biggest rice exporter with 7.6-million-ton output (following India with 9.5 tons), mainly using PP bags of 50 kg/bag.

Therefore, Mexico modified packaging regulation and allowed Vietnam to pack rice with PP bags as usual instead of PE bags.

For all that, Mr. Hoang Tuan Viet said in the long run, domestic exporters should invest in packaging chain and change their current packing method like USA to keep Mexico – a new market of Vietnamese rice, namely packing in airtight and closed hard paper bag (3 layers) with net weight of 50 pounds (22.68 kg), or maybe 25 kg/bag  to facilitate consumers’ use as well as ensure Vietnamese rice quality.


It takes up to 30-35 days to transport rice by sea to Mexico in specific and American region in general while Mexico has 6 months in rainy season. Rice will easily get mouldy and poor quality because of dampness with current PP packing method. On the other hand, 50-kg PP packing only facilitates exporters but causes inconvenience to consumers.

(Source: Nong Nghiep Viet Nam Newspaper)


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