ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s exports of rice saw a negative growth of 15.82 percent in the first seven months of the current fiscal year, primarily as a result of the flood damage to paddy fields in Sindh, which occurred amid a global economic slowdown.
The total value of rice exports decreased from $1.28 billion in July and January of last year to $1.08 billion this year. The under-invoicing of rice to Afghanistan and Iran under the barter trade system is primarily responsible for the stagnation in export proceeds, particularly for basmati rice.
According to Chela Ram Kewlani, chairman of the Rice Exporters Association of Pakistan (Reap), the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS) data did not include basmati rice exports to Iran and Afghanistan. However, he stated that Sindh’s crop of long-grain white rice—also known as non-basmati rice—has decreased by 40%.
Mr. Kewlani stated that the decline in non-basmati exports is justified as a result of this loss in production. He disagreed, however, with the government statistics that indicated a decrease in the quantity and value of basmati exports.
According to the PBS data, the quantity of basmati exports decreased by 22.95 percent to 316,055 tonnes in 7MFY23, down from 410,207 tonnes in the corresponding months of the previous year.
Non-basmati rice exports decreased 24.94 percent to 1.62 million tonnes in 7MFY23, from 2.17 million tonnes in the preceding year. The domestic market saw unprecedented price increases for both basmati and non-basmati despite a significant drop in exports.
After a slowdown in the real estate industry, REAP Senior Vice Chairman Haseeb Khan told that people had invested money to store rice.
According to him, domestic prices have increased as a result of negative carry-forward rice stocks in recent years. Due to a slowdown in other industries, particularly real estate, rice has emerged as a profitable sector for investors.
According to Mr. Khan, basmati rice exported to Iran and Afghanistan is misrepresented as being of low quality. Additionally, he stated, the quantity of rice at the border stations is not disclosed. He added that Pakistan’s customs should investigate the under-declaration of rice’s value and variety to these two nations.
There are eight famous basmati rice districts worldwide, six of which are in Pakistan and two in India. However, issues are currently emerging, particularly with rice seeds in the country.
Six districts in Punjab province that are suitable for the cultivation of the world’s best basmati rice are being devoured by unabated housing developments on GT Road. However, nothing was done about this by the government.
An unidentified former Chairman of REAP informed that inflation also affects domestic prices. He stated that the price of rice on the international market has also increased, which has an effect on rice produced in the country.
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