Karachi: The exports of rice registered a significant surge of 29 percent or 1.9 million metric tons earning an amount of $881 million for national kitty during the period July-December of current financial year.
The Senior Vice Chairman Rice Exporters Association of Pakistan (REAP) Rafique Suleman informed the media here on Saturday that during the period of July-December, the rice exporters have witnessed a significant surge in exports of rice as compared to same period of last financial year.
During the period, the exporters have dispatched a total of 1.9 million metric tons of rice exports grabbing an amount of $881 million for national kitty. During the last fiscal year, about 1.64 million metric tons of rice amounting to $682 million was exported from the country registering an increase of 29 percent in values and 15 percent in quantity, he informed.
He informed that Indonesia has also floated a tender for procurement of big quantity of rice and two Pakistani companies are also included in successful bidders.
He hoped that this year, we set the target to export more than 4 million metric tons of rice from the country and will be able to achieve $2 billion marks. He appreciated the federal government efforts and especially Pakistan High Commission at Nairobi for their excellent support to handle the recent issue against Pakistani rice exporters.
Kenya is the largest buyer of Pakistani rice and during last six months of the current fiscal year (July to Dec 2017-18). The exporters have dispatched 240,000 metric tons of rice amounting to $85 million, he said, adding that there is a need to focus on the issues and problems in the rights direction.
He urged to rectify all issues among rice exporters and government officials to make a strategy for the betterment of rice exports of the future.
He has shown concern over the decline of exports to China, which was the second largest Pakistani rice importer as, at the end of December 2017, only 174,000 metric tons of rice valuing $56.8 million were dispatched from the country.
He urged the government authorities to take serious notice and urgent measures as well as steps to improve the rice exports to China.
Rafique said Pakistani basmati rice will get a significant boost which was facing severe decline since last three years in Iran and Saudi Arabia who were the major buyers of Basmati Rice.
He hoped that after resolving issues related to the payment problems and banking channel with Iran, it will increase Pakistani rice exports.
He informed that the demand for rice has increased in the international market and rates of Pakistani Rice are cheaper than our countries like Thailand and Vietnam. Most of the international buyers are keen to buy Pakistani rice due to its competitive rates. The REAP is hopeful that this year, we will witness a substantial growth in Pakistani rice exports.
Rice exporters are also doing extraordinary efforts for fetching foreign exchange for the country and investing in modern rice processing machinery for value addition of rice.
Masroor Afzal Pasha, Pakistan Observer