Rice export revenue rose 14 percent from last year to an estimated $3.7 billion, the ministry said in its monthly report.

Vietnam, the world's second-largest rice exporter after Thailand, had been expected to export around 7 million tonnes of the grain this year, after shipping a record 6.83 million tonnes in 2010.

The higher revenues came after Asian rice prices were boosted by a Thai government purchasing scheme while Southeast Asia's floods led to a food shortage, the report said.

It estimated Vietnam produced a record 42.3 million tonnes of paddy in 2011, up 5.8 percent from last year, coffee output rose 5 percent from 2010 to nearly 1.17 million tonnes and rubber output rose 8 percent to 811,600 tonnes.

Vietnam is the world's largest robusta coffee producer.

It is the fourth-largest natural rubber exporter after Thailand, Indonesia and Malaysia.

Coffee exports in 2011 are estimated at 1.22 million tonnes, or 20.33 million 60-kilogram bags, up only 0.2 percent from 2010, the agriculture ministry said.

Vietnam's rice output in 2012 is expected to remain steady at this year's record levels of around 42 million tonnes of unhusked grain, a government minister has said, which could help ensure supply in Asia and soften food prices.

The country has set an initial target to export between 6.5 million and 7 million tonnes of rice in 2012.

Vietnam is in talks with Malaysia to sell 200,000 tonnes of 5 percent broken rice, which could bring its rice exports in 2012 to Malaysia to 500,000 tonnes, the Vietnam Economic Times newspaper reported on Monday.

Based on a floor price of $500 a tonne for the 5-percent broken variety set last week, the deal would be worth $100 million, free-on-board basis.

Malaysia is Vietnam's third-largest rice buyer after Indonesia and the Philippines.

Reuters - December 27, 2011