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Vietnam to promote high quality rice to boost export revenues

HANOI, July 6 (Reuters) - Vietnam outlined plans to boost revenues from rice exports over the next decade by focusing on a higher quality product and selling more outside Asia.

The world's third biggest rice producer wants to boost production of higher quality 5 and 10 percent broken rice and decrease output of 15 percent broken rice, according to a paper published on the government's website.

By doing so it aims to increase its rice exports to $2.3 billion-$2.5 billion annually between 2021 and 2030, from an expected $2.2 bln-$2.3 bln a year over 2017-2020.

Vietnam is facing rising competition from rice exporters Thailand and India. Under its long-term plan, Hanoi expects the volume of its exports will actually fall from 2021, to around 4 million tonnes annually - from 4.5 million to 5 million tonnes a year until 2020 - as it sells less lower grade rice.

By 2030 it aims to sell 50 percent of its rice exports in Asian countries, down from 60 percent in 2020. Africa will account for 25 percent of its exports by then, up from 22 percent, with the Americas accounting for 10 percent, up from 8 percent, and sales to Europe increasing to 6 percent from 5 percent.

Vietnam aims to keep China, the Philippines, Indonesia and Malaysia as the main buyers in Asia while increasing exports to South Korea and Japan.

The bulk of Vietnam's current exports are 5 percent broken rice but Hanoi wants to increase the proportion further, although it did not give details.

Last year, the country's total rice exports fell by 27 to 4.8 million tonnes as it faced rising competition from Asian rivals, as well as policy changes in China and a fall in domestic production due to drought and high water salinity.

Exports rebounded 14 percent in the first half of this year to an estimated 2.96 million tonnes.

(Reporting by Mai Nguyen; Editing by Susan Fenton)