Sangthong optimistic about organic rice exports
Sangthong district in Vientiane will increase its organic rice cultivation to reach its export goal of 1,800 tonnes this year, according to a local agriculture official.
An official at the Sangthong district Agriculture and Forestry Office, Mr Somdeth, said that last year the district planted organic rice that yielded a harvest of 1,700 tonnes, which was a 10 percent inc rease on the previous year.
In 2015, Sangthong district planted 8,350 hectares of rice in the rainy season and 650 hectares in the dry season, helping farmers to increase overall yields by 10.26 percent compared to 2014.
The district is currently encouraging 284 farming families with 369 hectares of paddy rice to comply with international rice export regulations in an effort to grow sales abroad.
Lao organic rice has been inspected by the Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine (AQSIQ) of China and granted approval for export to China and the EU.
This has driven a steady expansion of Lao organic rice in overseas markets and this year the district has eight villages planting organic rice, but only rice grown by 14 families has been accepted as meeting international standards.
At present, the district is working with China and the EU, aiming to expand the overseas market for Lao rice.
The district is also encouraging farmers to increase their rice plantings to improve their incomes, and drive its image for organic products.
Sangthong district has seen an increase in rice production every year since 2012.
Last year, it produced 37,187 tonnes to distribute for domestic supply as well as more than 1,700 tonnes of organic rice for export.
Mr Somdeth said he believed Lao rice was now acceptable in overseas markets, and cultivation could continue.
Sangthong district expects to boost rice production using more modern farming techniques as well as increasing its marketing efforts.
According to the Ministry of Industry and Comme rce, Laos plans to produce about 5 million tonnes of rice by 2020 to ensure food security across the country.
Last fiscal year, Laos' rice production reached 4.12 million tonnes and is predicted to increase to 4.35 million tonnes this year.
More than 778,000 hectares of wet season rice and over 126,600 hectares of dry season rice are grown annually in Laos. However, about 226,000 hectares of rice fields in flatland areas are totally dependent on rainfall because irrigation channels have not yet been built in those areas.