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Lao Black Rice offers Asean market potential
Publication Date : 28-08-2013
The production of Black Rice offers strong potential for Laos when the country competes with other nations for exports within the Asean Economic Community in 2015.
The potential of the Lao rice is recognised by the Head of the Thasano Rice Research and Seed Multiplication Centre, Dr Phoudalay Lathvilayvong, who is keen for more farmers to grow the crop.
Phoudalay told Vientiane Times last week that while Laos may not be able to compete with Thailand or Vietnam in the production of normal glutinous or white rice, where farmers have been growing these varieties for export for many years, the Black Rice is different.
“I am confident that Black Rice has export potential and that Laos can compete with other Asean countries because our species are different from other species grown in the region and have their own special taste,” she said.
There are about 78 known species of Black Rice in Laos. The rice research centre in Savannakhet province has chosen four of the most promising species for commercial development, and has been encouraging farmers in Champhone district to cultivate them.
Phoudalay said the crop was still something new for farmers and they are thinking about it before deciding to grow the rice on a large scale. “If farmers plant the rice under the supervision of the centre, I believe they will have a steady income,” she added.
Customers from China and Taiwan have already ordered Black Rice from the centre. In addition, a private company in Savannakhet province has asked the centre to grow the rice and all its product derivatives.
But Phoudalay said they may not be able to produce the Black Rice for customers in large quantities as they do not have the necessary modern equipment.
Farmers interested in growing the rice are advised to contact the Thasano Rice Research and Seed Multiplication Centre in Kaysone Phomvihane district, where seeds are available.
After sourcing agriculturists, the centre will provide advice on planting, cultivation and harvesting techniques, from soil tilling through to milling.