If there is one key take from SBP's first quarter “State of the Economy" report for FY20, it is that rice is now the undisputed king of Pakistan's kharif economy. At over three million hectares, the paddy crop is well-ahead of all other competitors. Paddy's success has come about thanks to a multitude of factors, chief among them beings its lower cost of production compared to substitutes. According to indicative production costs calculated by Punjab's Agriculture Marketing Information Service department, indicative cost per acre during FY19 for both basmati and IRRI varieties were less than fifty thousand rupees. This is lower in comparison to indicative costs for all other major seasonal crops such as maize, seed cotton, or sugarcane, whose production costs ranges between rupees sixty to hundred thousand per acre. At the same time, recovery in international demand for domestic basmati varieties, coupled with stability in international price trends has helped propel cultivation of paddy, as growers kept up plantation momentum from previous year. Note that Pakistan exports over half of its domestically produced rice, but its profile has dramatically changed over the past decade. Until FY09, basmati varieties used to be the primary value contributor to rice exports, thanks to higher unit price that traded at a premium of 2.5 times over IRRI category. The latter varieties in turn contributed the bulk of export volume. Over the following ten years, Pakistan lost its basmati advantage as the premium between average export unit prices of basmati and IRRI fell to as low as 1.68 times. The watershed moment came in FY16 when basmati rate in the international market fell below the $800 per ton psychological barrier, last seen in FY07. Since then, basmati price in the international market are on a recovery trend that saw a brief touch and go moment with $1,200 per ton in May 2017. However, the opportunity was largely missed as during the intervening period Pakistan had lost much ground in the premium rice category to exporters from neighbouring India. But fortunes finally begin to smile on Pakistan's basmati at the close of 2018 when EU regulations on fungicide acceptability levels in food products saw a revision. Background discussions indicate that basmati rice originating from India has higher tricylazole levels, a chemical spray heavily used on paddy crop to fight fungal pests. As a result, Indian exporters begin to find it hard to maintain market share, leaving open field for Pakistani exporters. The explanation also appears to draw support from trade data sheet, which indicates 80 percent growth in basmati export volumes in 5MFY20. At the same time, average unit price fetched by rice exporters has fallen compared to same period last year, as differential between basmati and IRRI rates appears to have trimmed down. Nevertheless, basmati's success may prove to be short-lived. Rice exporters note that Indian basmati enjoyed the added benefit of GI-tagging, short for geographical identification, which allowed use of basmati label by varieties grown in limited regions such as state of Haryana only. Indian regulatory efforts at market restriction allowed Haryana basmati to command additional premium, until the revised fungicide rules took effect in EU. But it is only a matter of time before the Indian rice value chain ensures that rice growing practices comply with revised international regulations for chemical sprays. In the meanwhile, if Pakistan fails to make any efforts at developing a legislative framework for GI-tagging for its basmati, it may once again have to cede space to its perpetual frenemy in the basmati race as well.