Pakistan on track to meet rice export target
Despite weather damage to major crops like cotton and wheat, most of the rice crop has not been affected by the floods and Pakistan is on track to meet its export target of 4.8 million tonnes this season.
It is truly a blessing that the cash crop of rice has survived the onslaught of floods and can bring in a substantial amount of export earnings, when most other summer crops have been destroyed, exporters say rice. “Pakistan has not lost its rice harvest. The damage is minimal,” Chela Ram Kewlani, chairman of the Rice Exporters Association of Pakistan (REAP) told The Express Tribune. “Pakistan is on track to meet the rice export target, which is almost equal to the exports achieved last year. The country exported 4.8 million tonnes of rice last year,” he said.
“Despite the floods and various other challenges facing the economy, exporters are preparing as much as possible for rice shipments.” According to REAP’s record, Pakistan’s total rice crop is about 9 million tonnes. Of this total, 4.5 million tons are exported and the remaining 4.5 million tons are sold on domestic markets. Of the total harvest, 5 million tons are made up of Basmati rice while 4 million tons are made up of non-Basmati paddy. “After assessing the losses inflicted by the natural disaster, we expect a satisfactory rice harvest of 8 million tonnes,” Kewlani said.
On flood damage, he said the Punjab rice belt remained almost unscathed. Sindh also had a similar rich harvest, but unfortunately it was partly wiped out. “There are two rice belts in Sindh – the upper and lower belts. Areas in the lower belt include Golachi, Badin and Tando Mohammad Khan where farmers have bumper harvests. But 20% of the crop was damaged in the upper belt which spans the areas of Larkana, Jacobabad, Kandhkot and other nearby towns.
He brushed aside social media rhetoric that Pakistan should ban rice exports because the crop had been totally damaged. “This is fake news; we really don’t need a ban. The varieties we export are not consumed locally, as they are only used in mills. Therefore, the ban is not necessary at all,” he stressed. The Chairman of REAP pointed out that there was a surplus stock of one million tons comprising of Basmati and non-Basmati varieties, therefore, it would not be difficult to make up the shortfall of about half a million tons. tons.
Rice production has increased thanks to quality seeds. Farmers use hybrid seeds that produce good quality rice and increase production. In fact, this year “we have a bumper crop across Pakistan, by all means the country can do it.”