VIENTIANE， Jan. 29 (Xinhua) -- Lao Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry expects to export about 400，000 tons of rice in 2017 and hopes the figure will climb to 1 million tons by 2020.
The ministry plans to increase yields so that white rice accounts for about 30 percent of the total rice crop， and is certified with the Good Agriculture Practice (GAP) standard for export， according to Lao state-run Vientiane Times on Sunday.
Many farmers and entrepreneurs are now growing rice on a commercial basis in order to improve quality in line with internationally accepted standards. Many businesses have exported their rice products to foreign countries such as China， Vietnam， Mongolia and European countries.
In 2016， some 21，000 tons of polished rice and about 52，000 tons of paddy rice were exported while about 248，000 tons of paddy rice was sold in border trading.
During the past year， the ministry encouraged farmers to grow 4.2 million tons of rice， an increase of 2 percent compared to 2015. The target for this year's crop is 4.3 million tons.
About 2.1 million tons of rice will be supplied for consumption， 400，000 tons will be allocated to stockpile， some 500，000-600，000 tons will be processed， and 100，000 tons will be used as seeds.
Rice is the main commercial crop for Lao domestic market supply and export， along with coffee， maize， tea， sugarcane， cassava， Job's tear， and beans.
This year， the ministry will encourage farmers to produce commercial crops for domestic supply and export， with targets of 126，200 tons of coffee， 1.3 million tons of maize， 2.43 million tons of sugarcane， 1.55 million tons of cassava， and 94，300 tons of beans.
The ministry expects that the agriculture and forestry sector will grow by an annual average of 3.1--3.4 percent between now and 2020， and account for about 17 percent of Gross Domestic Product.