Business / Industries

Laos eyes more rice sales to China

(Xinhua) Updated: 2015-12-15 13:48

VIENTIANE - Laos' Savannkhet province is looking to increase rice exports to China to more than 10,000 tons a year after the first order for 8,000 tons was received from the Chinese market this year.

Laos Thursday officially exported its first batch of rice to China from Savannkhet, some 500 km south of capital Vientiane, marking the start of rice exportation to China.

Governor of Savannkhet province Souphanh Keomixay said the province aims to grow as much rice as possible to meet export demand, but this will depend on the quality of the seedlings planted, local daily Vientiane Times reported Tuesday.

Governor Souphanh said the strain of rice being used for export was Homsavanh as it was native to the province and the quality was up to international standards.

"In fact, the rice export quota for China is 8,000 tons, but the purchasing power of the Chinese market is unlimited. This paves the way for growers to increase production in the years to come," he added.

Souphanh said the rice export plan was being run by the Lao-China cooperation project, signed by the government and the provincial authorities to boost bilateral cooperation in the field of agriculture.

"We can produce more than the quota ordered by customers, which is also dependent on the quality and category of rice they want," he added.

Head of the Savannakhet provincial Agriculture and Forestry Department's Agriculture Division, Khamseng Sorphabmixay, also said the province could produce more than 800,000 tons per year, mainly sticky rice.

"Rice production for export does not include sticky rice, meaning that sticky rice is mostly for local consumption," he said.

Savannakhet province has 200,000 hectares of rice paddy fields available for the wet season crop, while 30,000 hectares are available in the dry season, enabling the production of more than 800,000 tons of rice annually.

In 2004, rice mills exported more than 3,000 tons of rice to various European countries, according to Khamseng.

Laos sells 300,000 to 400,000 tons of paddy rice to neighbouring countries across its borders every year.

Last week, the province held a ceremony to mark the first rice shipment to China, attended by Minister of Agriculture and Forestry Phet Phomphiphak.

Speaking at the event, Phet said the sale of rice to China was further evidence of the comprehensive cooperation between the two countries and that more rice would be sold to China in the future.

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