Laos plans to sell 100,000 tonnes of rice to Cuba annually

Plaza de la Revolucion, Havana, Cuba © Arno Maierbrugger

The government in Laos is planning to export around 100,000 tonnes of rice to its socialist brother nation Cuba, a scheme that comes as the nations celebrate 45 years of diplomatic relations this year and follows first steps initiated by Laos’ Ministry of Industry and Commerce when Cuba’s Minister of Foreign Trade and Foreign Investment visited the country in September 2019, Vientiane Times reported.

Laos’ main export products to Cuba are currently clothes, while Cuba sells tobacco, sugar, white gold, coffee and mechanical parts to Laos. The planned rice exports are part of efforts to develop the two countries’ trade ties further in the course of the anniversary, which will also be followed by closer diplomatic ties.

Challenging plans, says farming company

The Lao government has tasked agribusiness group Phan Phet Agriculture Development Co. in Hadxaifong district to conduct a feasibility study on the potential exports. The company said it would be a challenge because it did not produce as much rice and would need to study the adequate provision of funding, land, use of new technology, farming methods, seeds, machinery and disease management.

According to Laos’ rice export statistics over the past five years, the main export markets are currently Vietnam, Thailand and Belgium. From 2015 to 2019, Laos earned about $70 million from rice sales to Vietnam, over $40 million from Thailand and more than $11 million from Belgium. Apart from that, Laos sold smaller amounts of rice to more than 30 countries in Asia and Europe.

In 2020, the Laos government is aiming to produce a total 4.7 million tonnes of rice, of which 2.5 million tonnes will supply domestic needs. Of that, some 2.1 million tonnes will be used for local consumption while 400,000 tonnes will be stockpiled. Some 500,000 to 600,000 tonnes will be used for domestic processing and at least one million tonnes are earmarked for production of domestic rice products and the rest for export.

Plaza de la Revolucion, Havana, Cuba © Arno Maierbrugger The government in Laos is planning to export around 100,000 tonnes of rice to its socialist brother nation Cuba, a scheme that comes as the nations celebrate 45 years of diplomatic relations this year and follows first steps initiated by Laos’ Ministry of Industry and Commerce when Cuba’s Minister of Foreign Trade and Foreign Investment visited the country in September 2019, Vientiane Times reported. Laos' main export products to Cuba are currently clothes, while Cuba sells tobacco, sugar, white gold, coffee and mechanical parts to Laos. The planned rice exports are...

Plaza de la Revolucion, Havana, Cuba © Arno Maierbrugger

The government in Laos is planning to export around 100,000 tonnes of rice to its socialist brother nation Cuba, a scheme that comes as the nations celebrate 45 years of diplomatic relations this year and follows first steps initiated by Laos’ Ministry of Industry and Commerce when Cuba’s Minister of Foreign Trade and Foreign Investment visited the country in September 2019, Vientiane Times reported.

Laos’ main export products to Cuba are currently clothes, while Cuba sells tobacco, sugar, white gold, coffee and mechanical parts to Laos. The planned rice exports are part of efforts to develop the two countries’ trade ties further in the course of the anniversary, which will also be followed by closer diplomatic ties.

Challenging plans, says farming company

The Lao government has tasked agribusiness group Phan Phet Agriculture Development Co. in Hadxaifong district to conduct a feasibility study on the potential exports. The company said it would be a challenge because it did not produce as much rice and would need to study the adequate provision of funding, land, use of new technology, farming methods, seeds, machinery and disease management.

According to Laos’ rice export statistics over the past five years, the main export markets are currently Vietnam, Thailand and Belgium. From 2015 to 2019, Laos earned about $70 million from rice sales to Vietnam, over $40 million from Thailand and more than $11 million from Belgium. Apart from that, Laos sold smaller amounts of rice to more than 30 countries in Asia and Europe.

In 2020, the Laos government is aiming to produce a total 4.7 million tonnes of rice, of which 2.5 million tonnes will supply domestic needs. Of that, some 2.1 million tonnes will be used for local consumption while 400,000 tonnes will be stockpiled. Some 500,000 to 600,000 tonnes will be used for domestic processing and at least one million tonnes are earmarked for production of domestic rice products and the rest for export.

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