HANOI, Feb. 20 (Xinhua) -- Vietnam plans to export 6-7 million tons of rice this year, compared with roughly 6.1 million tons worth nearly 3.1 billion U.S. dollars last year, according to its Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development on Wednesday.

The country will intensify application of advanced technologies in growing paddy rice so that it can churn out 43.5 million tons of rice from 7.5 million hectares of paddy rice-growing area in 2019, said the ministry's Department of Crop Production.

Vietnam exported 400,000 tons of rice worth 180 million U.S. dollars in January, seeing respective year-on-year declines of 18.5 percent and 24.8 percent.

Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc on Tuesday asked the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development and the Ministry of Industry and Trade to seek bigger and longer-term export markets for Vietnamese rice, the agriculture ministry said, noting that Vietnam's rice export turnovers surged in such markets as Indonesia, Iraq, China's Hong Kong and the Philippines last year.