UPDATE 1-Vietnam aims to export 7 million tonnes of rice this year - govt

(Adds details, background)

By Khanh Vu

HANOI, June 2 (Reuters) - Vietnam, the world's third-largest rice exporter, aims to ship 7 million tonnes of the grain this year, greater than last year's volume, the government said on Tuesday.

The Southeast Asian country fully resumed rice exports in May after it briefly banned shipment of the grain in March and limited April shipments to 500,000 tonnes.

Those measures were taken to ensure it had sufficient food during the coronavirus pandemic.

"This will be 400,000-500,000 tonnes higher than last year," Mai Tien Dung, chief of the government office, said at a news conference.

Dung said the country had bumpy rice harvests this year from dry weather conditions and the intrusion of salty water in the Mekong Delta.

He said Vietnam had put aside enough rice for domestic use, stockpiling 270,000 tonnes of rice, including 80,000 tonnes of unhusked paddy, to ensure food security.

Vietnam's rice exports in the first five months of this year rose 3.7% from a year earlier to 2.86 million tonnes, according to the government's customs data. (Reporting by Khanh Vu; Editing by Martin Petty)

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