Illustrative image (Source: www.khmertimeskh.com)
 
Vientiane (VNA) - Laos plans to increase rice exports to China in 2017 after the quality of Lao rice sold to the world largest population market was found satisfactory by Chinese buyers.

Laos began shipping rice to China in 2015. In 2016, it exported 4,200 tonnes of sticky rice and purple rice. The figures are expected to increase to over 8,000 tonnes in 2017, as the demand from the Chinese market increases.

The launch of the Lao organic rice market in China is considered as a breakthrough for Lao rice to access one of the world's biggest markets.

Since 2000, Laos has exported over 300,000 tonnes of rice annually to Vietnam, Thailand, China and other countries.

The main rice products come from central Savannakhet province under the 2 3 Investment Promotion Scheme. Under this scheme, farmers contribute their land and labour force, while the company provides funding, technical assistance and a consumption market.

Major challenges for Lao farmers are the comparatively high cost of rice products and transportation compared to those of neighbouring countries, according to Lao agriculture officials.

This fiscal year, the country’s rice production reached 4.12 million tonnes and is predicted to increase to 4.35 million tonnes in 2017. Laos plans to produce about 5 million tonnes of rice by 2020 to ensure food security in the country.–VNA