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Vietnam primarily has a rice-based agricultural economy. Rice is cultivated on 82% of the arable land, provides 80% of carbohydrate, and 40% of the protein intake of the average Vietnamese. The two rich deltas of the north and south - Red River and Mekong, respectively – are sourced for most of the rice in Vietnam. The Mekong River delta accounts for 52% and Red River delta another 18% of Vietnam’s rice.

Vietnam is one of the most typrical rice producers and exporters in the world. Surprisingly, before 1986, Vietnam used to import rice because of the dramatical exceeding in domestic demand. The amount of rice that Vietnam imported even reached over 1 million tons during the latter 1960s and in 1976.

Thanks to the 1986 Doi Moi reform, Vietnam started its integration into the world economy and also to enforce policies and regulations encouraging development of agriculture. As a result, Vietnam rice production increased rapidly. The country began to export rice in 1987, transforming itself from a rice importer to rice exporter in 1989.

Vietnam Food Association (VFA) data shows that rice exports from Vietnam in 2012 broke the record at 7.7 million tons, thereby maintaining its place as the world’s second largest rice exporter, following only India.