The Golden Mountain Garden Group in northern Laos' Xieng Khuang province is now looking to export its organic rice to Chinese market.
The company is now on track to prepare sufficient products to meet demand, which is increasing every year, particularly from China where there is a high demand for products such as khao kai noi (namely "small chicken rice", kind of indigenous rice largely used for brewing beer) and black rice, local daily Vientiane Times reported Wednesday.
Company Chairman Phoukham Ouanouansa said they normally sell rice to Chinese buyers. This year, a Chinese buyer ordered at least 50 tons of rice from the company. He said the company is encouraging farmers to grow more khao kai noi using organic methods, hoping to attract the interest of consumers in China, Japan, Singapore and other countries.
The company signed an agreement with the new Chinese buyer during the 4th China-South Asia Expo and the 24th China Kunming Import and Export Commodities Fair in June in Kunming city, Yunnan province.
The Golden Mountain Garden Group and the Chinese buyers plan to carry out business in the long term, with a purchase agreement to be signed each year.
The rice, which is packed by the company, is mostly a traditional style favored by Chinese people. "I have studied the Chinese market for many years to learn what kinds of products are popular there," Phoukham said.
The company's products are popular with both Lao and Chinese people as they are a good source of nutrition, Phoukham said.
During the expo and fair in Kunming, Phoukham, said many traders from other countries wanted to sign contracts to buy the company's products. "But this wasn't possible at present because we can only just manage to supply the Chinese market," he said.
"To ensure the quality of our rice exports to China, we will maintain our current quality which has gained the confidence of our buyers and customers," Phoukham said.
As the main producer of khao kai noi in Xieng Khuang province, Phoukham said the company will look to expand the market for this rice variety with assistance from the government.
Xieng Khuang, some 180 km northeast of Lao capital Vientiane, currently produces more than 40,000 tons of khao kai noi a year, of which 80 percent is reserved for supply to the province. The province is planning to list khao kai noi as a top export product.
According to the company, prospective purchasers from China have visited the province to look into the situation, but say they need organically grown rice, so these markets remain out of reach for the time being.
At present only 15-20 percent of the total cultivation area of 11,500 hectares is given over to organically grown khao kai noi rice, according to the provincial authorities.
Laos officially exported its first batch of rice to China from southern Savannakhet Province, marking the start of rice exportation to China in December, 2015. Addressing the ceremony, the then Lao Minister for Agriculture and Forestry Phet Phomphiphak said the event reflects the relationship between Laos and China as "good neighbors, good friends, good comrades, good partners."
In March 2015, Xuanye (Lao) Co., Ltd invested by Chinese company, was approved by China's National Development and Reform Commission to become sole exporter of Lao rice to China with quota of 8,000 tons. On Oct. 27, 2015, the Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine (AQSIQ) of China granted the approval for the export of Lao rice to China by Xuanye (Lao) Co., Ltd.