Pakistan’s rice exports surged to a record $2.5 billion in the 2021-22 fiscal year, boosted by higher sales of the commodity abroad, data from the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics showed.
The volume of rice exported, both Basmati and non-Basmati varieties, this year was over 4.877 million tonnes, 1.19 million tonnes more than last year’s figure of 3.684 million tonnes.
The volume of rice exports increased by 32.35 percent while the value of exports, in U.S. dollars, rose by 23 percent compared to the previous year, according to PBS data.
Basmati rice accounts for more than 0.75m tonnes of export volume and more than $69m in financial terms.
Reap chairman Ali Hussam Asghar stated that lower rice prices in Pakistan as opposed to India at the beginning of the season prompted international buyers to source from Pakistan, thereby driving up export volume.
He said that the lack of containers did pose difficulties, which Reap representatives remedied with the assistance of the Trading Corporation of Pakistan by providing bulk vessels.
He pledged to enhance the supply chain so that rice export volumes could reach $3bn in the next year.
Mr Asghar estimated that Basmati acreage and production were expected to grow in the forthcoming season as farmers had received a reasonable price for their crop during the year ending June 2022.
Prior to last year, rice sector stakeholders had been expressing their worries about the escalating practice of sowing non-Basmati, particularly hybrid rice varieties, even in the Basmati producing belt of the Gujranwala division.
According to rice sector expert Hamid Malik, production has increased from 7.2m tonnes to 8.9m tonnes in the last three years.
Mr Malik said the demand side also remained robust during 2021 and 2022 despite odds like a three-time increase in ocean freight, the non-availability of empty containers and bulk vessels, and restrictions related to the Covid pandemic.