Warmer, drier weather threatens rice crop in Pakistan, other Asian countries

  • Farmers plant rice seedlings at paddy field on the outskirts of Lahore on June 7, 2023. (AFP)

    NEW DELHI: Warmer, drier weather because of an earlier than usual El Nino is expected to hamper rice production across Asia, hitting global food security in a world still reeling from the impacts of the war in Ukraine.

    An El Nino is a natural, temporary and occasional warming of part of the Pacific that shifts global weather patterns, and climate change is making them stronger. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration announced this one in June, a month or two earlier than it usually does. This gives it time to grow. Scientists say there's a one in four chance it will expand to supersized levels.

    That's bad news for rice farmers, particularly in Asia where 90% of the world’s rice is grown and eaten, since a strong El Nino typically means less rainfall for the thirsty crop.

    Past El Ninos have resulted in extreme weather, ranging from drought to floods.

    There are already “alarm bells,” said Abdullah Mamun, a research analyst at the International Food Policy Research Institute or IFPRI, pointing to rising rice prices due to shortfalls in production. The average price of 5% broken white rice in June in Thailand was about 16% higher than last year's average.

    Global stocks have run low since last year, in part due to devastating floods in Pakistan, a major rice exporter. This year’s El Nino may amplify other woes for rice-producing countries, such as reduced availability of fertilizer due to the war and some countries' export restrictions on rice. Myanmar, Cambodia and Nepal are particularly vulnerable, warned a recent report by research firm BMI.

    “There is uncertainty over the horizon,” Mamun said.

    Recently, global average temperatures have hit record highs. Monsoon rains over India were lighter than usual by the end of June. Indonesian President Joko Widodo on Monday asked his ministers to anticipate a long dry season. And in the Philippines, authorities are carefully managing water to protect vulnerable areas.

    Some countries are bracing for food shortages. Indonesia was among the worst hit by India’s decision to restrict rice exports last year after less rain fell than expected and a historic heat wave scorched wheat, raising worries that domestic food prices would surge.

    Last month, India said it would send over 1 million metric tons (1.1 million U.S. tons) to Indonesia, Senegal and Gambia to help them meet “their food security needs.”

    Fertilizer is another crucial variable. Last year China, a major producer, restricted exports to keep domestic prices in check after fertilizers were among exports affected by sanctions on Russian ally Belarus for human rights violations. Sanctions on Russia for its invasion of Ukraine don’t specifically target fertilizers but the war has disrupted shipments of the three main chemical fertilizers: potash, phosphorus, and nitrogen.

    Bangladesh found suppliers in Canada to make up for lost potash shipments from Belarus, but many countries are still scrambling to find new sources.

    Farmers like Abu Bakar Siddique, who cultivates 1.2 hectares (3 acres) in northern Bangladesh, had enough fertilizer to keep his yields steady last year. But less rainfall meant he had to rely more on electric pumps for his winter harvest at a time of power shortages due to war-related shortfalls of diesel and coal.

    “This increased my costs,” he said.

    Each El Nino is different, but historical trends suggest scarce rainfall in South and Southeast Asia will parch the soil, causing cascading effects in coming years, said Beau Damen, a natural resources officer with the Food and Agriculture Organization based in Bangkok, Thailand. Some countries, like Indonesia, may be more vulnerable in the early stages of the phenomenon, he said.

    Kusnan, a farmer in Indonesia's East Java, said rice farmers there have tried to anticipate that by planting earlier so that when the El Nino hits, the rice might be ready for harvest and not needing so much water. Kusnan, who like many Indonesians uses only one name, said he hoped high yields last year would help offset any losses this year.

    Indonesian President Joko Widodo has stressed the need to manage water well in the coming weeks, warning that various factors including export restrictions and fertilizer shortages could combine with the El Nino to “make this a particularly damaging event.”

    Baldev Singh, a 52-year-old farmer in northern India's Punjab state, is already worried. He typically sows rice from late June until mid-July, but then needs the monsoon rains to flood the paddies. Less than a tenth of the usual rainfall had come by early this month, and then floods ravaged northern India, battering young crops that had just been planted.

    The government has encouraged Punjab farmers to grow rice along with their traditional wheat crops since the 1960s to improve India's food security, even though farmers like Singh don’t typically eat rice and irrigation of rice fields has drained the area's aquifers. But he keeps growing it, counting on the certainty of government purchases at fixed prices.

    With rain scarce, Singh may need to dig wells. Last year, he dug down 200 feet (60 meters) to find water.

    “Rice has been our ruin ... I don’t know what will happen in the future,” he said.

  • Mexico’s delegation on Pakistan visit for inspection of rice establishments

  • KARACHI  - A three-member delegation comprising of quarantine inspectors from the National Health Service, Food Safety and Food Quality (SENASICA), Mexico is visiting Pakistan from 11th to 14th July, 2023 for the inspection of rice establishments to lift ban on import of rice from Pakistan. The visit of the delegation has been organized by TDAP in collaboration with REAP and DPP and our Mission at Mexico.

    On the first day of the visit, the delegation inspected two leading establishments of rice in Punjab and also visited Ayub Agriculture Institute and Agriculture University of Faisalabad. They also visiting Rice Research Institute KSK. On 13 and 14th July, the delegation will visit rice establishments in Karachi.

    It is pertinent to mention that Mexico granted market access to Pakistani polished rice (low risk goods) in 2012, however, banned import of rice from Pakistan claiming interception of Pakistani rice consignment with Khapra beetle in 2013. Mexico is one of the potential importer of rice and in 2022, Mexico imported $295.3 million worth of rice from the world. With the efforts of Trade Mission at Mexico, DPP, REAP and TDAP, it is expected that (SENASICA), Mexico will consider lifting ban on import of rice from Pakistan and exports of rice to South America will be increased.

  • Looming water shortage for rice, cotton crops worries exporters in Pakistan

  • Exporters have expressed concerns over expected water shortage for rice and cotton crops during the current Kharif season.

    Pakistan’s rice and textile exports are declining during the current year, and they are feared to drop further if enough water is not available for crops, exporters said.

    The experts responded to a report of Indus River System Authority (IRSA) saying that the country is facing a significant water shortage of 37% during the current Kharif season, which could affect important cash crops.

    Hamid Zaman, Chairman (North Zone) of All Pakistan Textile Mills Association (APTMA), told WealthPK that constant decline in cotton production was already hurting the country’s textile sector and exports.

    “Decline in cotton production is directly hitting Pakistan’s exports, employment and in come of the people besides increasing trade deficit,” he said.

    Hamid called upon the government to take measures for water conservation in the country.

    “Agriculture is the backbone of the economy as it provides raw material to industry and ensures food security,” he said. 

    The APTMA representative said textile producers have to pay $400 million to import one million bales of cotton. “Imported cotton is expensive and it also impacts the competitiveness of the textile sector,” he added.

    Hamid said that government should help farmers to grow cotton crop.

    “According to an estimate, Pakistan was losing at least $5 billion directly on account of low production of cotton,” Hamid said, adding that increase in cotton production will have a direct impact of $1 billion per 1 million bales.

    According to the Ministry of National Food Security and Research, production of cotton declined by 35.49% in Pakistan due to various reasons during last 12 years.

    Chela Ram Kewlani, Chairman of Rice Exporters Association of Pakistan (REAP), said while talking to WealthPK that the federal and provincial governments should take measures to ensure availability of water for important crops during the coming season.

    He pointed out that the export of rice was already on a declining trend during the current fiscal year. 

    “Rice export dropped by 11.17% in terms of value and 19.49% by quantity during first 10 months of the current fiscal year,” Kewlani said.

    The REAP chairman said rice crop was damaged by floods last year, and now another calamity is feared in shape of water shortage.

    Kewlani said that exporters were expecting rice exports to grow over $2.8 billion during the current fiscal year (2022-23) after getting encouragement from record exports of $2.51 billion during last fiscal year. However, he said, initially the floods, and then the water shortage shattered their hopes.

    He urged the government to re-consider the water distribution formula for the coming seasons to avoid such situations in future.

    According to Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS), Pakistan spent $1.828 billion to import 776,394 metric tons (MT) of raw cotton during 2021-22.

    Pakistan’s rice exports increased by 23% during the fiscal year 2021-22 compared to the exports of 2020-21, PBS reported. During 2021-22, over 4.877 million metric tons of rice valuing $2.511 billion was exported against 3.684 million metric tons worth $2.041 billion during 2020-21.

  • Rice, Maize help Pakistan achieve local demand, export earnings…

  • Rice, Maize help Pakistan achieve local demand, export earnings, says RRDB Chairman

    Shahzad Malik announces Rs 10m each for best rice, cotton & wheat breeders

    LAHORE    -    Rice Research and Development Board Punjab (RRDB) Chairman Shahzad Ali Malik Wednesday an­nounced ‘Shafi Malik Plant Breed­ers Award’ of Rs 10 million each for breeders from private and public sector who develops the best quality high yielding seeds of rice, cotton and wheat.

    Talking to the media here, Malik stressed the need for immedi­ate steps to increase yield per acre of field crops through the best varieties which is pos­sible by rewarding breeders through a lu­crative incentive pack­age/scheme. Shahzad Ali Malik highlighted that out of five major field crops Rice, Maize, Cot­ton, Wheat and Sugar Cane, only two crops, Rice and Maize performed well due to high yielding varieties with the main contribution of pri­vate sector. He said Rice and Maize helped Pakistan achieve local de­mand, export earnings and import substitution. Going one step forward Shahzad Ali Malik on behalf of the Guard Agricultural Research and Services for first time in the history of private sector made announce­ment of three cash rewards of Rs 10 million each to encourage the breed­ers. He added that breeders may be from the public or private sector whose variety be­comes commercially successful on the basis of at least 10 percent increase in sale and production for three years. However, the incentive would not be for varieties approved on paper only and not being found commer­cially successful. For rice crop this reward is for inbred (open pollinated) and for hybrid varieties with Average Grain Length 8mm or above. This an­nouncement would go a long way to help boost the research and produc­tion of cotton, wheat and rice seed varieties that would bring revolu­tion in increasing per acre yield.

  • PBHF Creates Awareness To Enhance Output Of Basmati Rice In Pakistan With Quality Seeds And Pesticides

  • PBHF creates awareness to enhance the output of basmati rice in Pakistan with quality seeds and pesticides

    Pakistan Basmati Heritage Foundation (PBHF), a consortium of Basmati rice exporters, arranged seminars to create awareness amongst the growers and other stakeholders of the rice value chain for improving productivity and food safety through the usage of certified seeds and judicious application of pesticides.

    ripe rice in the country farmland
    ripe rice in the country farmland

    The seminars held at Narowal and Mandi Bahauddin were attended by the farmers, exporters, and representatives of Ebro Foods (an international grain company) and Eurofins providing testing, certification and other facilities to exporters.
    Juan Parious Soto Commercial Director of Ebro Foods speaking on this occasion said that better crop productivity for higher volumes through certified seeds & monitoring of pesticides residue was very important since Import Tolerances (IT) were being revised periodically by the European Union (EU), USA & Gulf countries.
    He said that our products are going to the high-end market and we have to keep the pesticide residue below the IT standards.

    Antonio Hernandez Chairman of Ebro Foods (Ebro, Herba & Tilda) told the audience that being the world’s largest importer of basmati rice he was ambitious to double the Basmati rice import. Tariq Mahmood Focal Person of Ebro Foods &CEO of GRS added that Compliant Exportable Basmati rice means purity, quality, traceability & food safety.
    Dr Alexander Zahm MD Eurofins Germany along with Dr Werner Nadder Former MD Eurofins shared the comparison of export dynamics of Basmati rice between India & Pakistan including rapid alerts generated for pesticides & aflatoxin.
    Sh. Adnan Aslam Co-convener of PBHF and Executive Director of MAP Rice welcomed the foreign guests for visiting Pakistan & shared a snapshot of the rice sector, particularly basmati rice. He apprised the participants regarding the potential of exports by boosting rice productivity while keep ensuring food safety.
    Imran Sheikh & Raja Arslan Khan National Coordinators of PBHF moderated both seminars & explained the context of the visit of international buyers. He underlined the usage of certified seed & responsible use of pesticides to meet import tolerance standards.
    REAP Senior Vice Chairman Haseeb Khan and MC member Ali Narang shared their insights for increasing the share of basmati rice exports in the global market through new seeds and pesticide stewardship.
    Samee Ullah Naeem Former Chairman Rice Exporters Association of Pakistan threw light on the importance of agriculture and advised the policymakers to devise farmer-centric policies for transforming the agriculture sector. He said that we need to focus on producing more food including rice per unit of land. Address the water & agrochemicals in the challenging scenario of the scarcity of above with added climate change & multiple risk factors, he emphasized.
    Dr. Anjum Ali Buttar DG Agri. Ext. briefed about the insights & outcomes of the PM Emergency Rice Productivity project for promoting mechanization, & certified seeds.
    Dr Ihsan ul Haq, Dr Amir Mumtaz & Dr Farrrukh Mehboob Program Leaders of IPM, Post-Harvest & Ecotoxicology respectively from the Pakistan Agriculture Research Council (PARC) sensitized the participants on the safe & responsible use of agrochemicals in rice production for ensuring food safety & quality.
    Shahid Tarer Convener (PBHF) & MD Galaxy Rice explained about the vision of PBHF in bringing together all supply chain actors for better integration of forward & backward basmati rice value chain through solution-oriented strategies to address underlying challenges of the rice sector. He briefed the participants about the role of PBHF in establishing the National Chapter of SRP in Pakistan.
    Javed Iqbal & Dr. Irfanullah Warraich Divisional Directors Agri. Ext Gujranwala & Gujrat addressed farmers on good agriculture practices for obtaining better yields & income. He appreciated the PBHF for implanting SRP standards & digitization of traceability from farm to fork.
    Rana Faqir Ahmed DG of Pest Warning & Quality Control sensitizes farmers on the importance of the right application timing based on pest ETL (Economic threshold level) & PHI (Pre-harvest interval) to keep rice grains free from pesticide residues. Dr. Hiz Jamali from Asian Development Bank & Dr. Kashif Salik from Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI) also participated.

  • Rice crop in surplus despite floods, NA told

  • Parliamentary secretary says production stands at 5.4MMT against 3.8MMT consumption


    Parliamentary Secretary for National Food Security and Research Ahmad Raza Maneka on Friday said the rice crop production was in surplus despite flood devastation.

    Responding to a query of Grand Democratic Alliance (GDA) MNA, Ghous Bux Khan Maher during the Question Hour of the 51st session of the National Assembly, he said the wheat stocks were properly stored and preserved from damages during the 2022 floods.

    However, the rice production was 5.4 million metric tonnes (MMT) against the local consumption of 3.8MMT last year, he added.

    Maher posed the question that what measures the government had taken to enhance rice crop yield as the production had declined to one-third?

    MNA Wajiha Qamar of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) also queried that what measures were being taken to ensure climate-resistant crops adaptable to shifting weather patterns amid prevailing growing environmental degradation and climate change?

    Maneka responded that innovative methods of farming, hybrid seeds and farmers' training could only ensure increase in crop yield. He said the latest methods and techniques of crop cultivation were the only remedy that was being imparted to the farmers.

    MNA Salahuddin demanded of the housing ministry to provide details related to plots allotted to 16 employees of Grade-16 and above of the ministry. He added that the ministry should also clarify that either any of these officials were awarded more than one plot.

    Parliamentary Secretary for Housing and Works Syed Mehmood Shah said the 16 employees of the ministry were not yet allotted plots but rather it was announced, whereas none of them availed dual plots in this case and the possession of these plots would be given after June.

  • Rice exports decline by 20.59% in the current fiscal year

  • ISLAMABAD (Dunya News) – A downward trend in the rice exports has been observed, the rice imports plunged by 20.59% in the first eight months of the current fiscal year on year-to-year basis. The export reduction can be problematic for dollar-strapped economy of Pakistan.

    According to Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS) and State Bank of Pakistan (SBP), the exports from July to February earned $ 1.321bn for the country. The revenue generated by rice exports is 20.59% less than the reciprocating tenure last year.

    The exports in February has been recorded at $ 146.66m, whereas in January it was $168.88m as compared to the $ 258.49m in last February, the fiscal year 2022 earned $ 2.760bn for the country

    According to the statistics, Basmati rice exports generated $ 379.47m in the first eight months of the current fiscal year. The generated revenue is 27.33% less than the reciprocal tenure last year, the basmati rice exports earned $ 428.81m forex reserve in the preceding year.

    Moreover, the non-basmati rice exports was recorded at $ 941.88m which is 17.91% less than the last year. The same tenure in previous year earned $ 1.110bn for nom-basmati rice exports.

  • Governor reviews proposals on rice seed improvement.

  • LAHORE    -    Governor Punjab Muhammad Balighur Rehman presided over a meeting of Sub-Committee on Rice Seed to review suggestions regarding improvement of the rice seed at the Governor’s House, here on Tuesday.

    Speaking on this occasion, Gov­ernor Punjab Muhammad Balighur Rehman, said that rice is important cash crop that earns country billions of foreign exchange besides meeting the country’s nutritional require­ments. He said that all the stakehold­ers have to give special attention to the research on rice seed to increase rice production substantially and explore new markets to increase export of rice. The Governor Punjab said that modern research is needed to improve the quality of the seed to increase the export of rice so that the production of high quality rice in the country and its export can be boost­ed through joint efforts.

    He said that he will play his role in conveying the recommendations of the Rice Seed Committee to the pro­vincial and federal governments to support the rice seed producers and rice exporters in the country.

    Convener Sub Committee on Rice Seed Shahzad Ali Malik put forward the recommendations and said that private seed companies producing hybrid seeds of modern technol­ogy in the country should be allot­ted government land on easy terms for the cultivation of seeds. He also demanded to simplify the rules and regulations related to breeding at the local level and also to provide interest-free loans for research and development of the institutions that produce seeds of modern technol­ogy at the local level.

    He emphasized on providing the facility of conducting tests from at least three accredited laboratories.

    Members of the Rice Seed Com­mittee, representatives of the Agri­culture University Faisalabad and Muhammad Nawaz Sharif (MNS) Agriculture University Multan were present in the meeting.

  • Rice business plays important role in economic improvement of Pakistan

  • The delegation of the Rice Exporters Association of Pakistan met with the officials of the Federal Ministry of Commerce under the Chairmanship of Chairman Chela Ram Kewlani.

    Federal Secretary to Ministry of Commerce Muhammad Sualeh Ahmad Faruqui, DG Agro Products Ministry of Commerce Qamar Zaman, and other relevant representatives were present in the meeting.

    During the meeting, the delegation included the Former Chairman REAP Ch. Samee Ullah Naeem, Senior Vice Chairman REAP Haseeb Ali Khan, Members MC REAP Fuad Hamid Gharib, Mian Sabih Ur Rehman , Sec. General REAP Kasif ur Rehman and others.

    In the meeting, the representatives of the Federal Ministry of Commerce were informed in detail about the problems faced by rice exporters.

    Electricity and other issues including gas supply were discussed. REAP’s representation in EDF board and other related issues were discussed.

    All other businesses in Pakistan have the status of the industry. Rice businesses should also be given the status of industry because rice business plays an important role in the economic improvement of Pakistan.

    Chairman REAP Chela Ram Kewlani’s conversation with officials of the Fed. Ministry of Commerce.

  • DP/Sheikhoo, Guard Rice emerge victorious in Lahore Open Polo

  • Diamond Paints/Sheikhoo Steel, Guard Rice and Diamond Paints emerged as winners in the Coca-Cola Lahore Open Polo Championship 2022 here at the Lahore Polo Club on Tuesday.

    Nicolas Antinori hammered an impressive hat-trick in the Diamond Paints/Sheikhoo Steel’s thrilling 7-6 triumph over Salam Polo in the first match of the day. Besides the heroics of Nicolas Antinori, Mir Huzaifa Ahmed (two goals), Usman Aziz Anwar and Umar Malhi (one goal each) also made a good contribution from the winning side.

    Nicolas Ruiz Guinazu was in sublime form and played well for the losing side as he contributed with fabulous four goals while his teammates Agha Musa and Raja Arslan struck one goal each.

    Diamond Paints/Sheikhoo Steel, Guard Rice and Diamond Paints emerged as winners in the Coca-Cola Lahore Open Polo Championship 2022 here at the Lahore Polo Club on Tuesday.

    Nicolas Antinori hammered an impressive hat-trick in the Diamond Paints/Sheikhoo Steel’s thrilling 7-6 triumph over Salam Polo in the first match of the day. Besides the heroics of Nicolas Antinori, Mir Huzaifa Ahmed (two goals), Usman Aziz Anwar and Umar Malhi (one goal each) also made a good contribution from the winning side.

    Nicolas Ruiz Guinazu was in sublime form and played well for the losing side as he contributed with fabulous four goals while his teammates Agha Musa and Raja Arslan struck one goal each.

  • Flooding stops rice farmers sowing next crop in southern New South Wales

  • Heavy rain and flooding have seen less than half the expected rice crop planted in some areas of the country, as the window to sow closes. 
    In southern New South Wales, growers would typically be wrapping up sowing at this time of year. 
    Rice Growers' Association of Australia president Peter Herrmann says optimal sowing conditions have been replaced by an unseasonable amount of rain.
    He says growers are still frantically trying to plant what they could. 
    "In theory, the window's still open but we've been saying this now for quite a few weeks and the weather keeps coming," Mr Herrmann said. 
    "Some poor families are in the situation where they haven't had the opportunity, despite their best preparations, to sow any rice crop this year."
    A portrait shot of a man standing in front of a tree.

    Less than half the intended crop planted

    Michael Chalmers is a rice grower at Wakool, west of Deniliquin, and chair of the local Rice Growers' Association branch. 

    While he managed to get half of his rice sown before the start of October, some of it was submerged for up to three weeks.

    "It's drill-sown rice, which ironically doesn't want to be under water until about the end of November, so it's struggling along," he said. 

    Drill-down rice is planted directly into the soil and uses less water than aerial-sown rice.

    Mr Chalmers said there would be a yield reduction and that counterparts in the Wakool region were even worse off. 

    "Talking to a good friend down the road, he's lost about 160 hectares of rice under floodwater —  it's been under water for about a month," Mr Chalmers said. 

    "I would guess at the moment he has something like less than 40 per cent of the intended area planted."

    A man with one arm around a boy in front of a flooded paddock.
    Michael Chalmers and his son, Lachie, on their flooded property.(Supplied: Michael Chalmers)

    After such a good year for the industry in 2021, Mr Chalmers says this year is a "bitter disappointment".

    "Last year was a fantastic year, probably the best year I've ever seen for growing rice and this year's the polar opposite," he said.  

    'Tragedy' after a huge investment

    At this stage, it is unclear how bad the losses are. 

    Mr Herrmann says it is a big blow for the industry after increased investment into this year's crop to cover high fertiliser costs. 

    "There's the opportunity cost of crops that aren't going to be sown," he said.

    "Then there's the terribly distressing circumstances of losing crops that were so close, and that we had invested so much of our money in to produce.

    "We're still in damage control mode so counting our losses is something we probably do in the middle of the night when we prefer to be sleeping."

    Rows of rice crop with some puddles around.
    Michael Chalmers' rice survived after being submerged.(Supplied: Michael Chalmers)

    Looking ahead

    Mr Chalmers does not expect the domestic market to be impacted but things could be different overseas. 

    "Our export markets, probably there will be an effect given that there is a global rice shortage at the moment," he said.

    Mr Herrmann says it is unclear what the coming months hold for growers, but he hopes the rain and flooding ease to ensure crop rotation can go ahead, which is vital for rice growers.   

    "We want that winter crop rotation, that pasture rotation, and inundation is not good for pastures," he said.

    Sheep make their way along a road with water around them.
    Southern NSW farmers have had to adapt to flooded paddocks.(Supplied: Michael Chalmers)
  • Rice harvesting near completion in Punjab

  • LAHORE    -   Rice harvesting is near completion in Pun­jab and this year its expected production is 5.2 million tonnes. Agriculture Depart­ment sources told APP on Monday that rice has been cultivated on more than 5.7 million acres of land in the province. Sources said that after completion of harvesting process, storage of rice was the most important task. Mostly old rice is preferred by users, sources added. The sources said if rice was not stored scientifi­cally, not only the qual­ity of the produce was harmed but its weight was also reduced. Moisture, insects, birds and rats were the fac­tors which put negative impact on rice if not stored properly. Mean­while, the Agriculture Department sources advised growers not to burn paddy stubble as it is illegal way to get rid of crop residue. High-level of smog af­fects the growth.

  • Rice exporters fear big drop in shipments after floods

  • Basmati exports shipments plunged 25 per cent to 173,684 tonnes in the four months through October, whereas proceeds dropped 8pc to $182m from a year ago, official data showed.—White Star/file

    KARACHI: Rice exporters are braced for a lacklustre year ahead amid fears of at least a 30 per cent drop in production in Sindh due to damage to crops caused by flash floods earlier this year.

    Besides, they also face fierce competition from India, which is offering lower prices to foreign buyers.

    Chela Ram Kewlani, chairman of the Rice Exporters Association of Pakistan (REAP), a representative body of the sector, said Pakistan fetched $2.5 billion from rice exports by shipping 4.88 million tonnes of rice to various foreign destinations in the previous fiscal year (2021-22).

    It was 1.19m tonnes more than the year-ago figure of 3.684m tonnes, which helped the country fetch a little over $2bn.

    “I think rice exports may plunge to 3.5m tonnes this fiscal year (2022-23) in view of the damage to the crop in Sindh,” Mr Kewlani said. However, he was satisfied with Punjab’s figures.

    Say exports may plunge to 3.5m tonnes this year from 4.8m after Sindh crop hit by flooding

    He said rice crop arrivals in Sindh were due in October but had been delayed by a month due to recent flooding that inundated large swathes of the country.

    Last year, the country’s rice production was 8.5m tonnes, whereas local consumption stood at 3m tonnes.

    On incentives, the REAP chairman was not happy with the fact that rice exporters were ignored when Finance Minister announced big power relief for the export sector last month.

    According to the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics, basmati exports plunged to 173,684 tonnes (fetching $182m) in the July-October period from 229,791 tonnes ($198m), reflecting a drop of 24.4pc in quantity and 8.4pc in value.

    Other rice varieties fetched $364m with shipments of 791,676 tonnes compared to $396mn (861,999 tonnes), down 8pc each in quantity and value.

    In October alone, basmati rice exports stood at 45,154 tonnes ($51m) compared to 43,821 tonnes ($43m) in September and 51,499 tonnes ($45m) in October 2021.

    Exports of other rice varieties stood at 205,744 tonnes ($92m) in October compared to 163,497 tonnes ($76m) in September and 297,576 tonnes ($126m) in October last year.

    Faisal Anis Majeed, the deputy convener of the Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry’s (FPCCI) rice committee, said foreign buyers were turning towards India, whose rice prices were less than Pakistan’s by $80 to $100 a tonne.

    He said the rupee’s depreciation over the last month also created problems for exporters, making exports expensive.

    Meanwhile, it has been noted that consumers are paying higher prices for local rice due to massive exports in the previous fiscal year.

    Prices of various rice varieties have gone up by 60-70pc in the last one and a half years. However, market sources said rice hoarding also went unchecked as “the mafia” kept the commodity out of the market to create an artificial shortage and fetch better prices.

    While the wholesale rates of different rice varieties now hover between Rs85 and Rs320 per kilogram, retail prices seem to have no limits due to fat margins.

    Published in Dawn, November 20th, 2022

  • Lahore Grain Market Rates

  • LAHORE: Grain and other commodity rates in rupees on Akbari Mandi on Monday (November 14, 2022)...

    LAHORE: Grain and other commodity rates in rupees on Akbari Mandi on Monday (November 14, 2022)

    Per 100 kg
    Sugar                        8850-8900
    Gur                         9000-11000
    Shakar                     11000-13000
    Ghee (16 kg)                 7200-7750
    Almond (Kaghzi)            10000-42000
    Almond (Simple)            12500-15000
    Sogi                       40000-70000
    Dry Date                   14000-20000
    Chilli (Sabat)             26400-36000
    Chilli (Pissi)             25000-31250
    Turmeric                   15500-16500
    Darchini (large)           26000-28000
    Mong (Sabat)               15500-17000
    Dal Mong (Chilka)          17000-19000
    Dal Mong (Washed)          17500-19500
    Dal Mash (Sabat)           29000-31000
    Dal Mash (Chilka)          31000-35000
    Dal Mash (Washed)          37000-40000
    Dal Masoor (Local)         38000-40000
    Dal Masoor (impor)         25000-27000
    Masoor (salam-impor)       25000-27000
    Masoor (salam-local)       30000-35000
    Gram White                 25000-30000
    Gram Black                 18000-20000
    Dal Chana (Thin)           19500-21000
    Dal Chana (Thick)          20000-21000
    White Kidney Beans
    (Lobia)                    20000-22500
    Red Kidney Beans
    (Lobia)                    22000-25000
    Rice (per 100 kg)
    Basmati Super (Old)        22000-28000
    Basmati Super (new)        23000-24000
    Kainat 1121                18000-25000
    Rice Basmati (386)         13000-14500
    Basmati broken              7000-13000
    Tea (per 1 kg)
    Tea (Black)                    650-980
    Tea (Green)                   500-1300
  • Rice exports: are good times over?

  • Pakistan’s rice exports are off to a bumpy sta-rt. After a stellar FY22 marking record growth in quantity exported and earnings, Q1-FY23 report card spells trouble. Headline numbers indicate a 9 percent decline in volume and over 5 percent fall in revenue, even as prices fetched in the international market held their ground. Are rice exports witnessing reversion to mean after hitting peak last year, or is there more at play?

    For natural reasons, first quarter is usually slow for rice exporters. Clarity over new crop outlook is only achieved in earnest by late October/mid-November, once harvest is completed in Punjab. Historically, basmati exports during Q1 make up no more than one-fifth of annual export quantum; whileQ1 accounts for no more than 15 percent of annual coarse exports.

    But the slowdown during Q1-FY23 is not just in keeping with past tradition. At nearly 30 percent lower than Q1-FY22, basmati exports are lowest in four years (minus Covid year). This comes despite a 55 percent rice in basmati prices in the international market compared to past season (3M average Jul-Sep). Pakistani exporters also fetched 20 percent higher prices compared to last year yet failed to export more volume. Now, prices are in fact receding in the international market, while currency has begun to stabilize (which risks eroding exporters’ margins). Have Pakistani exporters missed out on a golden opportunity by waiting too long?
    BR Research has previously explained that unlike India, basmati variety is grown in Pakistan primarily for local consumption, with exports accounting for no more than 15-20 percent of local output. Since April 2022, prices of most domestically produced basmati varieties have shot up by as much as 30 percent in the local grain markets, led in part by poor wheat crop in the past season. In addition, Pakistan reported a 10 percent decline in basmati production last year (FY22), as a result of a misguided policy to encourage coarse rice production under the previous government.
    And all of that came in to play long before the devastating floods that hit the crop in Sindh and Balochistan between Jul – Sep. With rice crop in the southern provinces devastated, Federal Committee on Agriculture estimates that national rice output would be at least 40 percent lower than last year, or 3.8 million metric tons lower!

    Does this mean rice processors are going slow on exports in national interest and to ensure domestic food security? Although that charitable explanation may be appealing to some, it doesn’t explain the trend in coarse rice exports during Q1-FY23, where the slowdown was much more muted in comparison.
    In fact, the explanation falls apart when one considers that the lost acres of Sindh had almost exclusively planted coarse rice varieties whose volume is in lockstep with recent trend. It may be worthwhile to note that coarse rice varieties have recorded no more than 10 percent rise in prices in the international market, and prices fetched by Pakistani exporters remained broadly unchanged compared to the previous year (3M average, Jul-Sep).
    It is almost certain that exports during FY23 will fall significantly short of last year levels. However, exporter behavior appears vexing, especially given severe concerns over land available for wheat plantation during the upcoming rabi season. Are rice processors betting on a severe domestic grain shortage? Or, is the international market in retreat even though prices don’t signal as much just yet? Rice export trend remains one to watch closely over coming months.
  • Pakistan’s rice exports to China crosses historical figure

  • * Data shows that in first nine months of 2022, China imports more than 4,971,644 tons of three different types of rice worth $ 2bn

    Pakistan’s rice export to China in the first three quarters of this year surpassed US$421.94 million with a volume of 1,111,352.57 tons (more than one million tonnes), for the first time in history, Gwadar Pro reported on Friday quoting China’s General Administration of Customs.

    The Customs’ Data showed that during the first nine months of 2022, bilateral trade increased significantly and China imported more than one million tons of different types of rice increasing 45 % while last year in the same period it was more than 674,646.876 tons by volume, worth $290 million an increase of $131.91 million from 2021.

    According to GACC, Pakistan’s broken rice (commodity code: 10064020) export to China has crossed US$ 159.72million, increasing by 80% as compared to last year’s US$ 87.75 million in the same period, with the exported volume growing 38% from 401,867.79 tons last year in the same period tons to 491,678.15 tons.

    The GACC data showed that in the first nine months of 2022, China imported more than 4,971,644.621 tons of three different types of rice worth US$ 2.05 billion, increasing 19% by volume from last year’s 3452523.288 tons in the same period worth $1.55 billion from the globe.

    The main sources of rice imports are Myanmar, Cambodia, India, Pakistan, Thailand, and Vietnam.

    The ex-Commercial Counselor Pakistan Embassy in Beijing, Badar uz Zaman told Gwadar Pro that Pakistan has set a target of one million tons of rice export to China this year which is achieved much earlier, and that if it were not for the flood in Pakistan, rice export to China would have doubled the existing amount.

    Zaheer Ahmad, a rice exporter to China told Gwadar Pro that Pakistan has high-quality varieties of rice, ample young labour, large fertile land, and good environmental conditions for agriculture but due to a lack of technologies previously the low average yield and degraded seeds were the main reason of less export to China and other countries.

    “Natural disasters are the key problems. Recently we are facing flood which destroyed more than 45% of crops and drought is probably the biggest abiotic stress Pakistani farmers face every year while much country’s planting area is affected by salinisation which can be solved through the latest technologies and techniques used in the field of rice production”, he stated.

    He further said that years ago, only Basmati rice was an important export earner in Pakistan but broken rice export to China helped Pakistan increase its export in this field, adding that Pakistanis are thankful to China which provided the latest technology in this field like colour sorting machines and modern seeds which help out more yield per arc and also duty-free access in the Chinese market. Zaheer hopes that China will also remove the quota system for Pakistani exporters and will increase the number of exporters from Pakistan, especially small enterprises.

    It is to be noted that in 2021 Pakistan exported about 973,000 tons of rice worth US$437 million to China and the total number of Pakistani companies in the approved General Administration of Customs P.R of China list is 53.

  • Devastating floods cause 5 percent cut in Pakistan’s rice exports

  • ISLAMABAD-Pakistan’s rice exports witnessed a decrease of 5.10% in the first three months of the current fiscal due to the recent devastating floods in the country, WealthPK reported.

    According to the data of the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS), the export volume of rice from Pakistan dipped to $401.629 million in the first quarter of the current fiscal as compared to $423.192 million during the same period of the previous financial year. Pakistan is facing a shortage of rice due to the recent floods, which led to a decrease in the export of the commodity. The devastating floods have washed away rice crops standing on millions of acres of land in Sindh and Punjab. The upcoming Rabi season is expected to see a decrease in rice and wheat production as farmers are switching to alternative crops, which will adversely affect the country’s food security.

    Pakistan exported 679,779 metric tonnes of rice during the first three months of the current fiscal, showing a decrease of 8.47% as compared to 742,715 metric tonnes during the same period of the previous financial year. On a year-on-year basis, rice exports decreased by 16.85% and reached $118.852 million in September 2022 as compared to $142.933 million in the corresponding month of last year, according to PBS data. In September 2022, rice exports dipped by 17.31% to $118.852 million from $143.730 million in August 2022. The export of basmati rice was recorded at $129.896 million in the first quarter of the current fiscal against $153.671 million in the same period of the previous financial year 2021-22, showing a drop of 15.47%. However, its export increased by 3% on a month-on-month basis to $42.803 million in September 2022 from $41.556 million in August 2022. On a year-on-year basis, the export of basmati rice decreased by 17.14% to $42.803 million in September 2022 as compared to $51.656 million in September 2021. The export of other qualities of rice was recorded at $271.733 million in the first three months of the fiscal year 2022-23 against $269.521 million in the corresponding period of the last financial year, showing a growth of 0.82%.

    On a month-on-month basis, the export of other qualities of rice was recorded at $76.049 million in September 2022 as compared to $102.174 million in August 2022, showing a decrease of 25.57%. The country’s total food group exports fetched $1.077 billion in the first quarter of the current fiscal against $1.019 billion in the corresponding period of the previous financial year, showing a growth of 5.70%.

    The country’s overall food group exports in September 2022 were $354.816 million as compared to $366.945 million in August 2022, showing a decrease of 3.31%. On a year-on-year basis, food group exports decreased by 1.26% to $354.816 million in September 2022 from $359.331 million in September 2021. The country’s overall exports increased by 1.84% and reached $7.125 billion in the first quarter of the current fiscal as compared to $6.996 billion during the same period of the previous year. On the other hand, imports shrank by 12.72% in the first quarter of the current fiscal and reached $16.334 billion, down from $18.715 billion in the same period the previous year. The trade deficit of Pakistan shrank by 21.42% to $9.209 billion in the first three months of the current fiscal. To increase rice production, Pakistan should grant interest-free loans to farmers. Rice is one of the most important crops in the world. Pakistan has the potential to increase rice production to boost exports. Pakistan’s economic growth is mostly reliant on revenue generated from exports. 

    The government needs to devise farmers-friendly policies if it is serious about increasing the export of rice, according to the research conducted by WealthPK.

  • Russia Looking to Increase Rice Imports from Pakistan

  • A Russian delegation Wednesday told Federal Minister for National Food Security Tariq Bashir Cheema that Russia is looking to increase rice imports from Pakistan.

    The delegation comprising representatives of Prodintorg, a state-owned Russian company, Agriculture Attaché Aleksei Kudriavtsev, and Attaché Russian Embassy met the minister at his office and discussed prospects of cooperation and partnership in the agriculture sector.

    Prodintorg’s Yousuf Asif said that Pakistan and Russia can mutually benefit from enhancing trade cooperation in agriculture. He noted Russia is one the largest global exporters of wheat and can help Pakistan to meet the local demand of wheat under the government-to-government (G2G) framework.

    The delegation also offered an opportunity of wheat import for Pakistan in the form of barter trade while exchanging food basket commodities.

    Asif mentioned that Russia is increasing the number of authorized exporters of rice to Russia in Pakistan to increase rice imports from Pakistan as Pakistani rice is of good quality. He also showed a willingness to import potatoes from Pakistan.

    At the outset, the minister welcomed the delegation and said that the agriculture sector has suffered colossal losses because of the recent rains and floods. He stressed that the international community should help Pakistan in the rehabilitation and recovery phase. He added that his government is making every effort to support the affected farmer community.

    Agriculture Attaché of Russia hoped that mutually beneficial cooperation in agriculture will help to ensure food security in both countries.

  • New high-yielding rice seed to be available from next sowing season

  • LAHORE-Pakistani and Chinese agricultural scientists have developed a new high-yielding and heat-tolerant rice seed which will be available for open commercial cultivation from the next sowing season.

    New ‘Extra long grain super hybrid rice’, which has been developed by Longping Hi-Tech Industries China and Guard Agricultural Research & Services (Pvt) Ltd, will double per acre yield to 90-100 maunds per acre from existing 30 to 40 acres as compared to competitor existing varieties. 

    Both companies, which already have the honour to introduce hybrid rice seed of coarse varieties in Pakistan, held a limited commercial trial this year spreading over 200 acres of land at various places of the country which resulted in having a yield of 90-100 maunds per acre at different places. Guard Agricultural Research & Services (Pvt) Ltd., held a field demonstration to showcase the new seed, its technology and the produce from the trial fields to farmers at a village near Pakpattan the other day and informed the growers that the new variety can attain maturity in 80-85 days and gives double yield using the same amount of nutrients and inputs as used by the existing varieties.

    Momin Ali Malik, senior executive of the company, speaking on this occasion said that their company is working to bring such seeds to market which can ensure prosperity for the growers and food security for the country’s ever-increasing population. He said they partnered with their Chinese counterparts in 1998 and since then they are putting in efforts to bring high-yielding varieties and have tolerance against climate change as well. He said their research team is bigger than their sales team as they believe that only research-oriented activities can produce the required results in the seed sector. He said Pakistan’s export of rice had touched new heights but to maintain this momentum, the country needs more per acre yield by using the existing resources. He claimed that the new variety can produce more than 100 maunds per acre provided taken good care of it. Final data is being completed as harvesting is still underway at different places, Momin added. Head of Research of the Chinese Company in Pakistan, Mr Long threw light on hectic research activities being carried out in the country. 

    He said that they plant 12000 lines every year and make hybrids by using local varieties and Chinese material. He said 11 varieties have so far been approved for cultivation by the Pakistani government since 2012. He said the new variety took 3-4 years of testing with a 14 mm length after cooking and an 8 mm length as uncooked rice.

    The event was also addressed by the GM Guard (Agri) Rizwan Younis, Chaudhry Muhammad Afzal (grower) and Usman Khaliq (grower) who shared their experience about the new variety.

  • Options for Pakistan’s rice exports

  • In May 2022, India banned wheat exports and imposed restrictions on sugar exports. Recently, it has also banned exports of broken rice and levied 20 per cent new duties on semi-milled and milled rice (excluding parboiled and basmati varieties).

    These measures aim to manage “national food security” by augmenting stocks and calming food inflation. Since India is the largest rice exporter, accounting for almost 40pc of the global grain trade, the export restrictions would escalate international inflationary pressures and worsen food supply issues.

    Additional export duties would make Indian rice exports uncompetitive in the international market, encouraging buyers to shift to its competitors like Vietnam, Thailand, and Pakistan, which are among the top five rice exporters. Yet they won’t be able, even collectively, to bridge the export gap that India will create.

    Pakistan produces around 8.9 million tonnes of rice annually, whereas only 4m tonnes is consumed in the country, leaving the rest for export. Therefore, India’s ban offers a lucrative opportunity for Pakistan to expand its rice exports and fetch better prices.

    Allowing the export of basmati rice but restricting other varieties will earn revenue and maintain food supplies

    However, Pakistan is facing destruction by massive floods, which have washed away millions of acres of standing rice crops in Sindh and Punjab.
    Initially, 9m tonne production was expected for the 2022 crop. However, due to a shortage of canal water during the rice planting season, the estimations were revised to 8.6m tonnes. Out of this, Sindh province estimated production at 2.3m tonnes, mainly from its rice zone, which is the worst hit by the floods.
    A rapid assessment of crop losses in Sindh was recently conducted by the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development and Pakistan Agricultural Research Council (PARC). Using an approach based on satellite imagery and measuring district and tehsil level damage intensity indicated crop losses of almost 80pc of the rice acreage.
    Production losses are estimated to be 1.8m to 1.9m tonnes. In addition to standing crops, the flood has destroyed the stocks lying in the houses for personal consumption as well as for the next crop seed. Total crop losses are roughly estimated at around 2.2m tonnes, most of which are non-Basmati (coarse) varieties.
    Many think that Pakistan is heading towards a real food security challenge, and they are proponents of imposing restrictions on rice exports like India. Expected shortage of wheat in the country, rice crop loss caused by the flood, derailing wheat planting season due to stagnation of flood water in fields, significant loss of livestock in flood-affected areas, greater reliance of poor and lower-middle class on wheat-based and rice-based products in the diet due to lack of affordability for meat, milk and fruit, low production of staple food across the world due to climate change, and disruption of global food supply chains, are some of the arguments in favour of exports restriction.
    These factors may raise the risk of continued food shortfalls and price spikes in the coming months. On the flip side, farmers and rice exporters favour exports for many reasons.
    First, Pakistan’s rice production will hopefully stand at around 6.4m tonnes despite flood losses. After putting aside local consumption, a 2.4m tonne exportable surplus will be available in the country.
    Second, rice is not a principal grain consumed in Pakistan. Per capita rice consumption in Pakistan stands at 18kg, whereas Bangladesh and India consume around 190kg and 78kg per capita, respectively. Therefore, it can be asserted that rice is not as sensitive as wheat, if looked at from a food security perspective.
    Third, the share of rice in Pakistan’s consumer price index (CPI) is quite small — in the food CPI basket, its weightage is just around 3.8pc. So higher rice prices would not significantly impact consumers as it does in the case of wheat.
    Fourth, penetration in export markets takes time, money, and effort. Pakistan may lose valuable markets/buyers in case exports restriction are imposed. In particular, basmati varieties are often sold under brand names, and any supply disruption may adversely affect brands’ equity.
    Fifth, over and above all that, basmati rice is grown mostly in districts that have not been affected by the floods. Thus the basmati crop is largely intact. Harvesting of basmati varieties is in progress in Punjab, and due to favourable weather conditions, the yield is 10-20pc higher than the previous year.
    The government is facing conflicting priorities. On the one hand, the government wants to earn maximum foreign exchange through exports, while ensuring national food security and quell inflation. Moreover, balancing the competing interests of its farmers and consumers is also a hard task.
    If rice export is allowed without any restriction, excessive depreciation of the rupee may render Pakistan’s rice more competitive globally, which is likely to result in excessive export of rice, causing a shortage in the local market.
    Therefore, Pakistan may go for a cautious policy that allows the unabated export of Basmati rice, hoping to meet 750,000 tonnes of export, but restricts exports of non-basmati (coarse) rice, capping it at 2m tonnes.
    Mr Wattoo is a farmer and consultant in the social sector.
    Ms Hasan is a political economist and graduate of the London School of Economics and Political Science.
    Published in Dawn, The Business and Finance Weekly, October 11th, 2022
  • Pakistan poised to achieve rice export target

  • Cash crop not significantly damaged, can bring substantial earnings

    Investment of Rs350 million for the establishment of phytotron tunnels will expedite research and development on new rice varieties. PHOTO: file


    Despite climatic damage to major crops like cotton and wheat, most of the rice crop has remained unhurt by flood devastation and Pakistan is poised to achieve its export target of 4.8 million tons this season.

    It is really a blessing that the cash crop of rice has survived the onslaught of floods and can fetch a substantial amount in export earnings, while most of the other summer crops have been destroyed, say rice exporters. “Pakistan has not lost its rice crop. Damages are minimal,” Rice Exporters Association of Pakistan (REAP) Chairman Chela Ram Kewlani told The Express Tribune. “Pakistan is in a position to meet the rice export target, which is almost equal to the exports made last year. The country exported 4.8 million tons of rice last year,” he said.

    “Despite the floods and various other challenges being faced by the economy, exporters are gearing up for rice shipments as much as possible.” According to REAP’s record, Pakistan’s total rice crop is around 9 million tons. Of this, 4.5 million tons are exported and the remaining 4.5 million tons are sold in domestic markets. Of the total harvest, 5 million tons comprise Basmati rice while 4 million tons consist of nonBasmati paddy. “After assessing the losses inflicted by the natural disaster, we are expecting a satisfactory rice harvest of 8 million tons,” Kewlani said.

    About flood damage, he said Punjab’s rice belt remained nearly unscathed. Sindh too had a similar rich crop but unfortunately it was partly wiped off. “There are two rice belts in Sindh – upper and lower belts. Areas falling in the lower belt include Golachi, Badin and Tando Mohammad Khan where farmers have bumper crops. But 20% of the crop has been damaged in the upper belt stretching over areas of Larkana, Jacobabad, Kandhkot and other cities in close proximity.”

    He brushed aside the talk on social media that Pakistan should place a ban on rice exports as the crop had been totally damaged. “It is fake news; we really don’t need a ban. The varieties we export are not consumed locally, as those are used in feed mills only. Therefore, the ban is not required at all,” he emphasised. REAP chairman pointed out that there was a surplus stock of one million tons comprising Basmati and non-Basmati varieties, therefore, it would not be difficult to make up for the shortfall of half a million tons or so.

    Rice production has increased due to quality seeds. Farmers are using hybrid seeds that produce good quality rice and increase output. In fact, this year “we have a bumper crop across Pakistan, by any means, the country can make it”.

  • Asia rice: Thai rates gain on fresh orders, rupee dive trims India prices

  • Export prices of rice from Thailand rose this week, helped by demand from the Middle East and South Asia, while rates for the staple from top exporter India eased on a weaker rupee.

    Thailand’s 5% broken rice prices rose to $422-$435 per tonne from $420-$435 a week ago.

    “There is new demand from Bangladesh of 200,000-300,000 tonnes and deliveries to Iraq,” said a Bangkok-based trader.

    Another trader said there was demand coming in from Iran, but only a few Thai companies had the goods manufacture practice (GMP) requirements to service that market.

    India’s 5% broken parboiled variety was quoted at $376 to $384 per tonne, down from $385-$392 last week, amid the rupee’s dive, and expectations of more supply following the government’s decision to extend a free food programme for the poor.

    The rupee touched a record low on Sept. 28, increasing traders’ margin from overseas sales and allowing them to reduce export rates.

    “A few traders were expecting the government won’t continue free food beyond September. But with the government distribution for another three months, the market would be oversupplied,” said an exporter at Kakinada in the southern state of Andhra Pradesh.

    Meanwhile, India’s recent restrictions on exports seemed to drive expectations of more demand from other hubs such as Vietnam.

    Vietnam’s 5% broken rice prices rose to $420-$425 per tonne from $400-$410 a week ago, with traders also attributing the gain to the end of the summer-autumn harvest.

    However, “though prices are higher, not many new deals have been signed recently as buyers remain quiet while sellers are still waiting for further price hike,” a trader in Ho Chi Minh City said.

    Preliminary data showed 37,400 tonnes of rice to be loaded at Ho Chi Minh City port on Oct. 1-9, with most of it bound to the Philippines and Bangladesh.

  • Sindh rice crop: separating fact from speculation

  • Last week, rumor mills went in overdrive in farmer Whatsapp groups, claiming that government of Pakistan was considering banning of rice exports, in a bid to protect domestic food security. Later that week, press reported that as much as seventy percent of Sindh’s rice crop had been lost to the floods. Have the floods truly put Pakistan’s grain security at risk?

    Although the humanitarian fallout from the floods is truly catastrophic, the grave concerns raised on social media viz national rice crop risks painting a far more scary picture viz farm output than may be warranted. While it is correct that the province contributes as much as one third of national rice output, its share in basmati production – Pakistan’s mainstay rice variety – is less than 1 percent. Instead, the province primarily produces hybrid and IRRI rice, over 90 percent of which is exported on average.

    In fact, out of total four million metric tons (MMT) of IRRI and hybrid rice production in the country, as much as 2.5 MMT is grown in the southern province (or 63 percent). During the last fiscal year, Pakistan non-basmati (IRRI and hybrid) rice exports breached 4.1 MMT, implying that very little of the non-basmati varieties produced are locally consumed.

    In contrast, most of locally consumed rice is of the basmati variety, grown in the Kalar region of north-eastern and central districts of Punjab province. Fortunately, basmati region has remained protected from floods this monsoon, suggesting that Pakistan’s grain security – at least to the extent of domestic rice consumption – may have remained unaffected by the floods.

    But this does not mean that the exportable rice production of Sindh has been spared. That’s where facts become muddy. Of the 29 districts in the province, 23 were declared calamity hit by the provincial governmentin late August. This included the eight districts which contribute as much as 98 percent of provincial rice output, raising fears that provincial rice crop had effectively been washed away.

    Remember, because of Sindh’s frequent drought conditions, rice crop cultivation is encouraged in limited areas of the province, mainly on the right bank of river Indus in upper Sindh: Kashmore (incl. Kandhkot), Jacobabad, Shikarpur, Larkana, Kambar Shahdadkot and Dadu – and the Indus delta region in the south: Badin and Thatta (incl. Sujawal), where water is available in relative abundance. More than 70 percent of rice produced in these districts is hybrid variety, which is yet to gain significant traction in local cuisine. Historically, most paddy fields in Sindh are cleared by late September, to make way for land preparation for wheat cultivation in October.

    According to data released by PDMA Sindh, flood inundation in lower Sindh (Indus delta region) districts of Thatta, Badin and Sujawal remained restricted below 30 percent of land area at its peak level. Based on historic figures from Sindh Crop Reporting department, delta region’s contributes as much as 30 percent of provincial rice output, which could suggest that much of the paddy in the area may have remained protected from flood induced damage.

    This stands in sharp contrast to the situation in upper Sindh. Per PDMA, as much as 60 percent of land area in some of these districts became inundated by early September, which has seen been brought down to below 40 percent (as of last week). In areas such as Kambar Shahdadkot and Jacobabad, that means significant losses to rice crop may have taken place before draining began in earnest.

    While nothing can be said with certainty, there may be some cause for hope. Districts that witnessed limited flooding in the north including Kashmore, Shikarpur – and to a lesser extent Larkana –together account for half of provincial output. While the loss is in no way insignificant, Pakistan’s domestic demand should remain turbulence free. In fact, timely draining of water and land preparation before wheat sowing season presents a far greater threat to domestic food security than economic loss from Sindh’s rice crop damage ever could.

  • Rice exports at risk as climate change engulfs Pakistan

  • Climate change is rice crop nemesis, and it can have detrimental consequences on its yield and quality, as a result it will be hard for Pakistan to maintain food security with current economic situation and ongoing global supply chain crisis.

    Punjab and Sindh are main producersof rice in Pakistan,about 90pc production of Pakistan total rice comes from these two provinces. Punjab, have moderate agricultural climatic zone and with the suitable soil conditions, which is feasible for basmati rice and it produce nearly 100pc of the Basmati variety rice for the Pakistan. The increased temperatures and decreased precipitation have a less or more negative impact on rice crop yield in Sindh, where an increase of 1°C in temperature and a 10pc decrease in precipitation, can reduce rice crop yield by 7.34pc in the short run and 13.33pc in the long run. Pakistan was ranked as the 3rdmost impacted country in the world by climate-related disasters in 2011. Pakistan is regarded one of the world’s most vulnerable countries to climate change due to its diverse population and physical makeup. Climate has a large impact on agricultural productivity. It is a critical component in crop productivity.

    It is recommended that the efficient methods for utilisation of land, water, and fertiliser should be updated through adaptation and mitigation techniques in new developing regulations.The government must play its role by monitoring climate change and paying close attention to agricultural output. Rice producers’ adaptive production techniques will be influenced by well-defined planning and prudent policies. Crop varieties with climate resilience and new hybrids should be introduced. Newly developing crops with better heat and malnourishment tolerance should be introduced to assist reduce possible difficulties. Finally, the government might coordinate irrigation with other forward-thinking programmes. Because of the region’s high temperatures and poor irrigation infrastructure, access to modern irrigation systems may likely boost agricultural production. As a result, adaptation and mitigation measures can be used to overcome the situation and meet the climate change restrictions less or more effectively.

    Pakistan mostly exports rice to Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan, Iran, and the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Rice is the second most significant food item consumed, and it also provides 21pc of the world’s human per capita calories and 15pc of per capita protein. It meets all of our country’s food needs while also providing a source of foreign cash through trade exports. On the other hand, rice supplies value-added goods or raw materials for the manufacture of paper, mattresses, starch, and other items. Unseen future changes connected with global warming temperature, carbon dioxide, and rainfall are projected to have an impact on rice production. It is evident that climate change is causing a rise in temperature, which has a negative influence on rice crops, eventually lowering crop yield and quality. A study indicated that climate change during the 1960s has reduced rice output by 12.4pc, with the major effect coming from reduced radiation. According to Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) an auxiliary organisation of US department of agriculture Pakistan rice output is expected to reach a record 9 MMT, propelling exports to a predicted 5 MMT but this forecast can be severely handicapped if we don’t tackle our climate change problem first.


  • BEIJING: Pakistan’s rice export to China in the first six months of this year is worth around US$345 million, compared with the US$ 258 million in the same period last year, according to the General Administration of Customs of the People’s Republic of China (GACC).

    Pakistan’s rice exports witnessed a 23% growth in the fiscal year 2021-2022 and reached US$2.511 billion compared with the US$2.041 billion in the fiscal year 2020-2021.

    As per official statistics, Pakistan exported 4.877 million tonnes of rice in the fiscal year 2021-22 against 3.684 million tonnes in the fiscal year 2020-2021, showing a growth of 32.35%. Over the last couple of years, areas under rice cultivation have been on the rise.

    The crop was sown on 3,537 thousand hectares, showing an increase of 6.1% against 3,335 thousand hectares last year.

    The record high output of rice stood at 9.323 million tonnes during 2021-2022, higher by 10.7% than the previous year’s production of 8.420 million tonnes, China Economic Net (CEN) reported.

    In addition to the increase in acreage, the increase in rice production is another important factor contributing to the surge in Pakistan rice exports.

    The renewal of good varieties and the use of advanced technology are essential factors to promote high yields. Hybrid rice from China has replaced some backward local varieties.

    Longping South Asia Seed R&D Centre has bred high-yield varieties with strong stress resistance in Pakistan, the yield of which is as high as 150 monz/ac. Shahzad Ali Malik, Chairman of the Pakistan Hi-Tech Hybrid Seed Association (PHHSA) maintained that the regular use of high-tech hybrid seeds in agriculture could contribute a lot to achieving an ambitious US$35 billion export target with a slogan of Grow More- Export More.

    Long Chunjiu, Chief Scientist of the R&D Centre said in a recent interview that Pakistan has a great potential for rice export, in which hybrid rice seeds can play a critical role.

    High-tech hybrid seeds are producing double yield[s] as compared to other conventional seeds.

    In Pakistan, almost 200 hybrids are approved/recommended by the variety evaluation committee. More than 60 hybrids are available on the market. If high-tech hybrid seeds are applied to all major crops, it will help a lot to achieve our ambitious export targets, said Abdul Rasheed, a PHHSA member.

    In addition to the increase in Pakistan’s rice exports to China, the cooperation between China and Pakistan in the field of rice seeds has also intensified progressively.

    Long believes that China-Pakistan seed industry cooperation is of great significance.
    We should make better use of local germplasm resources such as Basmati and give full play to local high-quality meteorological conditions to help locals achieve grain self-sufficiency and export foreign exchange earnings; through the cooperation platform between the two countries, China’s domestic seed companies can cooperate and develop with local enterprises with solid strength to provide high-quality technical services and varieties and improve local farmers passion for planting, he explained.

    While continuing to work on breeding high-yield hybrid rice for stress resistance, Long Chunqiu is also working on breeding hybrid Basmati varieties and japonica rice.

  • Global Markets: Rice – Pakistan Export Forecast Rises to Record While Importing More Wheat

  • 2021/22 Pakistan rice exports are forecast up 450,000 tons to 4.8 million, almost 30 percent higher than the previous year. Favorable export conditions are expected to continue as large stocks, competitive export prices, and strong demand from key markets are expected to spur exports further to 4.9 million tons in 2022/23.

    Pakistan retains ample supplies following two consecutive record crops, despite hot and dry conditions delaying the 2022 May/June planting season. The Pakistan Meteorological Department forecasts ample monsoon rains which are expected to be beneficial for this season’s harvest.

    In addition to favorable weather and market conditions, abundant supplies, and the devaluation of the Pakistani rupee have kept its prices globally competitive. Over the past year, Pakistani rice prices have closely mirrored Indian prices, which have been extremely low for almost 2 years; however, strong export demand has caused Pakistani quotes to spike in recent weeks.

    Pakistan’s top export markets include a diverse group of countries to which it exports different rice varieties, including fragrant long-grain basmati, regular milled, and broken rice. In recent years, Pakistan has emerged as a major supplier to China, the world’s largest rice importing and consuming country.

    In fact, in the first few months of 2022, Pakistan exported more rice to China than Vietnam, the historic top supplier. Pakistan exports both milled rice and broken rice to China, the latter primarily used in feed. Pakistan also exports competitively priced milled rice to East Africa – particularly Kenya, Mozambique, and Tanzania – and neighboring countries in Central Asia, mainly Afghanistan.

    Pakistan is also a producer and exporter of basmati rice, a premium product known for its aromatic qualities. Demand for basmati rice has grown in recent years, especially in the European Union and the Middle East. While still facing stiff competition from India, the top global basmati exporter, Pakistan is a significant basmati supplier to the European Union, the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, and the United Kingdom.

    Rice is an important food in Pakistan; however, wheat is the principal grain consumed domestically. Unfortunately, the same hot and dry planting conditions that delayed planting of the 2022 rice crop in Punjab and Sindh provinces have adversely affected Pakistan’s wheat production.

    This month, Pakistan’s 2022/23 wheat import forecast has been raised 500,000 tons to 2.5 million as the government has aggressively procured international and domestic wheat. Historically, the government intervenes heavily in wheat production, marketing, and trade to ensure sufficient supplies of a commodity critical to food security.

    Pakistan’s government intervention includes procurement of wheat from the domestic market through price support programs and a mandated selling price for flour mills, used to intervene in periods of high food inflation.

    At the provincial level, the government buys wheat from farmers at the support price and then sells it to flour mills at the fixed government price. The amount released from reserves is based on the estimated shortfall of production for the marketing year.

    While the 2022/23 crop is on par with historic yield trends, the output was short of the government’s production target, leading to some concerns about supply shortages. Output was adversely impacted by early-season fertilizer shortages and a heat wave in March which occurred during a key maturation stage.

    Procurement began earlier this year and in much larger volumes than usual, causing price spikes in the open market. To counteract rapidly rising prices, the government released wheat from strategic reserves several months early. This has led to concerns that stocks will be much lower by January-March 2023, which has traditionally been the time of the year where the market is more dependent on government intervention.

    Population growth, high inflation, and higher prices for milk, meat, and fruits have only increased the prominence of wheat-based products in the diet, further exacerbating concerns about available supplies.

    These same dynamics have led the government of Pakistan to look to the international market for wheat earlier in the year than expected. The Trading Corporation of Pakistan (TCP), a state-owned enterprise within the Ministry of Commerce, issued two tenders in May and June, each for 500,000 tons of wheat.

    The government also approved the import of up to 3.0 million tons of wheat in order to satisfy domestic consumption and shore up its strategic reserves. Pakistani media has reported that 2.0 million tons of wheat will be purchased from Russia.

    High Domestic Prices Spur Vietnam’s Demand for Cambodia and India Rice

    Vietnam is forecast to once again purchase large quantities of rice with imports forecast at 1.1 million tons for 2022. Although down from the record set in 2021 at 1.8 million tons, demand for Cambodia and India rice remains strong amid high domestic rice prices.

    Traditionally, Vietnam imports around 400,000- 500,000 tons of paddy rice each year from neighboring Cambodia. Earlier this year, in an effort to reduce high domestic prices, the Government of Vietnam released a statement exempting the import tax on 300,000 tons of rice from Cambodia. Cambodia exported roughly 460,000 tons to Vietnam during January through May.

    Demand for broken and milled rice from India also remains strong. Imports peaked in the beginning of 2021 due to the gap in prices between Vietnam and India for all types of rice, influenced by high internal transit costs in Vietnam. After domestic Vietnamese prices trended down, rice imports dropped, more noticeably for milled rice.

    However, demand for India milled rice is rebounding, likely due to India’s low price. In April, India’s milled rice exports to Vietnam were priced at $326/ton. Demand for domestic broken rice has remained steady due to its use as a lower-priced feed alternative. As domestic broken rice prices remain higher than India’s rice, Vietnam’s importers continue to look towards India to meet demand.

    Looking ahead, Vietnam is forecast to import 800,000 tons of rice in 2023. Imports are anticipated to decline year over year but are still above the historical average. With ample supplies, India will remain an affordable alternative.

  • REAP vying to get duty-free access to UK market for white rice

  • KARACHI: Rice Exporters Association of Pakistan (REAP) has initiated efforts to get duty-free access into the UK market for the export of white rice.

    Currently, there is no duty on the export of brown rice from Pakistan to the UK and EU countries and Pakistani exporters are taking full advantage of duty-free access to the UK and EU. Pakistan exported some 0.35 million of brown rice approximately $300 to UK and EU during the last fiscal year.

    In recent development, in the first week of May, Pakistan’s major rice competitor-India has concluded a third round of talk with the UK on FTA to get concessional or duty-free access to the UK for the export of some 240 items including white rice. Both countries are ready to finalize the FTA by October this year.

    The maturity of FTA between the UK and India may pose risk to the exports of white rice from Pakistan to the UK. Although, the UK and EU is not major buyers of white rice, however REAP, sensing the importance of this issue, has initiated efforts to get concessional or duty-free access for Pakistani rice exporters.

    In this regard, Chairman REAP Ali Hussam Asghar held a meeting with the federal secretary Commerce Saleh Farooqi on Tuesday to discuss the India-UK FTA and its impact on Pakistani rice exports. During the meeting it was decided to further gear up the efforts for the same status from the UK which will be given to Indian white rice under the proposed FTA.

    Chairman REAP told Business Recorder on Wednesday that REAP is well aware of the situation and already in touch with the Ministry of Commerce to develop a strategy on this issue. The yesterday meeting with the Secretary Commerce was very successful and he realized the REAP concerns on the UK-India FTA and assured full support, he said.

    “We (REAP) are also in touch with Shafiq Shahzad, Pakistan’s Commercial Counselor in the UK and he is already monitoring the issue closely,” he added.

    He said “Pakistani white rice quality is much better than our competitors and Pakistan can earn more foreign exchange with export of rice.” Hussam said that as the Eid holidays were starting that week, it had decided to initiate the fruitful efforts after the Eid.

    Chairman REAP said that with some 25 percent healthy growth Pakistani rice exports rose to all-time high during the last fiscal year. For the first time in history, Pakistan exported rice worth $2.5 billion during FY22 compared to $2.04 billion in FY21. Pakistan can earn more foreign exchange by exporting rice; however, there is need to make efforts to enhance the rice crop production, he added.

    Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

  • Pakistan Rice Export To China Increases By 10pc

  • BEIJING – Pakistan’s export of rice to China crossed $277.56m in the first five months of FY2021-2022, up 9.73pc year-on-year bases. Pakistan remained one of the major broken rice suppliers to China, according to the official data from the General Administration of Customs of the People’s Republic of China (GACC).  Badar uz Zaman, Commercial Counselor of the Pakistani Embassy in Beijing, said that currently broken rice, especially IRRI-6, IRRI-9, and semi or wholly milled rice were the main varieties of rice exported to China while Basmati and other top varieties still need to work hard to capture the Chinese market.

    “Last year, China imported 973,000 tonnes of rice worth $437 million from Pakistan. Seven new Pakistan rice exporters have been added to the approved list, which has risen to 53 in 2021. China relaxed import restrictions on Pakistani rice which helped rice export to China,” Badar mentioned.

    He believes that within a few years Pakistan will become the largest rice exporter to China, CEN reported.

    In the first five months, broken rice, commodity code (10064080), crossed about $42 million, an increase of nearly 865.26 percent as compared with last year, which was $4.32 million. Semi or wholly milled rice, commodity code (10063020), reached $132 million, according to GACC data received by Pakistan.

    Badar Uz Zaman said that Pakistan was using traditional and especially social media platforms here to create awareness about Pakistani rice in the Chinese market.

  • Export of rice increases 33pc in 11 months of FY21-22

  • The export of rice from Pakistan witnessed 33pc increase during first 11 months of fiscal year 2021-22 as more than 4.4m metric ton of rice exported to different countries.

    According to data released by Pakistan Bureau of Statistics, Pakistan earned $2,276m by exporting rice during July May 2021-22 that show 22.62pc increase in terms of value. In the corresponding period of previous fiscal year Pakistan exported 3.367m metric ton rice worth $1,856m, the PBS data stated.

    The export quantity of Basmati rice during July-May 2021-22 was recorded 690,562 M.T which earned Pakistan $632.5m that is 25.24pc higher in terms of quantity while 24.75pc higher in terms of value compared to July May 2020-21. In the 11 months of previous fiscal year 551,373 M.T Basmati rice worth $507m were exported, the data shown.

    The export of other varieties of rice also increased 34.32pc in terms of quantity and 21.81pc in terms of value as 3.78 M.T of other varieties of rice worth $1,643.5m were sent abroad in 11 months of 2021-22. The export of other varieties of rice stood at 2.8m M.T that worth $1,349m during 11 months of FY 2020-21.

    As per PBS data total export of rice during May 2022 remained 425,821 M.T that worth $224.7m. Compared to May 2021 export of rice witnessed 140pc and 111pc increase in terms of quantity and value respectively as 177,112 M.T of rice worth $106m were exported during May 2021. The data further indicated that export of Basmati rice remained 61,662 M.T and of other varieties 364,159 M.T which earned Pakistan $60.7m and $164m respectively.

  • Pakistan’s rice export to China hits $277.6m

  • Country becomes one of major broken rice suppliers

    With local demand picking up due to restrictions on imports, the recent rise in exports will come to an end. PHOTO: AFP


    Pakistan’s rice export to China crossed $277.56 million in the first five months of FY22, up 9.73% year on year.

    Pakistan remained one of the major broken rice suppliers to China, according to the official data from the General Administration of Customs of the People’s Republic of China (GACC).

    Pakistan Embassy in Beijing Commercial Counsellor Badaruz Zaman said that currently broken rice, especially Irri-6, Irri-9 and semi or wholly milled rice are the main varieties exported to China, while traders still need to work hard to capture the Chinese market for Basmati and other top varieties.

    “Last year, China imported 973,000 tons of rice worth $437 million from Pakistan. Seven new rice exporters of Pakistan have been added to the approved list, which has risen to 53,” he said.

    “China relaxed import restrictions on Pakistani rice, which helped increase export to China.”

    He believes that within a few years Pakistan will become the largest rice exporter to China.


  • Rice exports: new heights

  • Pakistan’s rice exports have made a fresh record this fiscal, reaching 4.5 million metric tons (MMT) during 11M-FY22. As per PBS, rice exports for fiscal year to date are up 33 percent over same period last year, despite a weak performance during May-22. With one more month to go, will exporters be able to cross the psychological barrier of 5MMT?

    The strong performance during the ongoing fiscal has primarily come on the back of coarse rice exports, which are anticipated to cross 4MMT by June end (up 35 percent over the previous year).

    Pakistan’s previous coarse rice record stands at 3.75MMT for FY16, against export earnings of a little over $1.4 billion. Coarse rice earnings during 11M have already added $1.65 billion to export kitty, with forecast to safely reach $1.8 billion by year end.

    Meanwhile, basmati exports during the year have failed to inspire even though exported volume during 11MFY22 is also up 23 percent over the previous year. Full year volume forecast of 0.75MMT will hardly feature among top-10 basmati export years, which averaged at 0.95MMT between FY03 – FY12. Similarly, basmati export earnings may remain shy of $0.7 billion by fiscal close.

    If the trend continues as projected, basmati volume and value will be less than levels touched as recent as in FY20, the pandemic year.

    This isdespite a hundred dollar per ton rise in basmati prices in the export market during May-22, which have also sent local prices in a frenzy. Super basmati (new) prices in local wholesale markets have risen by at least 20 percent in the last 45 days alone. It is unclear whether export demand has strengthened during June-22, or local prices have risen in response to news of lower basmati cultivation due to canal water shortage.
    Either way, full year export earnings (for all varieties) will most certainly manage to bag $2.5 billion, of which as much as three-fourths supplied by coarse rice exports (coarse rice share in export volume stands at 85 percent).
    Increasingly, Pakistan is establishing itself as a small but significant player in coarse rice exports (including hybrid rice), with its share in basmati export market diminishing to a little under 15 percent. On the other hand, local demand for basmati remains unsatiated, as over 80 percent of local production now goes towards domestic consumption. With Pakistan fast running out of irrigated acres to cultivate rice – while basmati prices in international market are tracking up along with a freefall in rupee value - a basmati price spiral in local market may soon become a distinct possibility.
  • Rice exports surpass highest export figure: REAP chief

  • LAHORE: Pakistan rice exports surpassed highest ever export record by achieving 4.4 million tons in 11 months of the current financial year 2021-22.

    Rice Exporters Association of Pakistan (REAP) Chairman Ali Hussam Asghar told Business Recorder on Saturday that the previous highest rice export record was of 4.16 million tons in full year. He said they are very close to achieving the 4.8 million tons of rice export this fiscal and value wise crossing export of US$ 2.5 billion. Quantity wise Basmati export this year might reach 740,000 ton to 750,000 tons at the end of current fiscal year, Ali hoped.

    Meanwhile, Ali Hussam Asghar, who has also launched a ‘grow more-export more’ campaign, called on the Governor Punjab Baligh-ur-Rehman the other day while leading a delegation to discuss a proposal on incentivizing the agricultural sector for growing more and achieving the US$ 5 billion export according to the vision of the REAP.

    Ali said that a detailed proposal on giving tax holiday in the province to companies investing in the agricultural research and farm mechanization was discussed with the Governor Punjab. He agreed to the proposal suggested in the joint meeting with the government departments and the REAP to put up vision of US$ 5 billion rice export plan focusing on supply chain in the province. He also agreed to take up the issues to the platforms concerned to make the target happen and support the continuous growth of rice export.

    Founder Chairman Shahzad Ali Malik, former chairman Chaudhry Sami Ullah Naeem, Pir Nazim Shah and REAP MC members also accompanied their chairman during this meeting.

    Ali Hussam Asghar & Founder Chairman Shahzad Ali Malik also thanked Governor for his special efforts in getting 17 per cent general sales tax removed on seed sector, especially hybrid seed in budget proposed for the year 2022-23 after REAP & PHHSA intervention.

    Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

  • Growers Advised To Complete Rice Cultivation By 30th

  • FAISALABAD – Agricultural experts have advised farmers to complete rice cultivation till June 30 for getting a better and high yield. A spokesman for the Agriculture Department said on Monday that the government was providing subsidy to farmers for increasing rice production in the country. He said that farmers belonging to Faisalabad, Jhang, Chiniot, Gujranwala, Sheikhupura, Okara, Sialkot, Nankana Sahib, Bahawal Nagar, Narowal, Kasur, Gujrat, Lahore, Hafizabad and Mandi Baha-ud-Din should avail from this facility by cultivating rice over maximum space of their lands. He said that approved varieties had better resistance against various diseases, weather conditions and insect attacks. Therefore, the growers should prefer cultivation of approved varieties of rice to get maximum finance benefit. Among approved varieties include Super Basmati, Basmati 515, Chenab Basmati, Punjab Basmati, PK-1121 (Aromatic), Noor Basmati, NIAB Basmati 2016, PK 2021 (Aromatic), NIBGE Basmati 2020, Super Gold, Super Basmati 2019, hybrid Basmati KSK-111-H, al-Khalid Rice, NBR-2, NIAB Super, PK-386, Shaheen Basmati and Kisan Basmati.

    Saplings of Shaheen Basmati and Kisan Basmati should be transferred in the fields from June 15 to 30 while remaining varieties can be cultivated from June 7 to 25. He said that experts of Agriculture Department were available for consultation and guidance of the growers during office times. However, the farmers could also contact agriculture free help line for any assistance, he added.

  • PARC-SARC, MAJU organise ‘Food Safety and Quality of Rice Conference & Workshop’

  • KARACHI: The experts have termed the food safety and security a global issue with public health and international trade implications.

    While addressing a Food Safety and Quality of Rice Conference & Workshop, the experts and scientists talked about various issues related to food safety and rice quality and said that developed countries have framed policies and regulations to ensure the food safety to the end users. Whereas, the developing nations are in the phase of transformation which is due to the emerging regulatory controls that face challenges of infrastructure, competency, legislation and management to address the issues efficiently, they added.

    PARC Southern-zone Agricultural Research Centre organized two-day stakeholder conference cum training workshop on ‘Food Safety & Quality of Rice: Current Scenarios, Challenges and Prospects for Improvement’ in collaboration with Mohammad Ali Jinnah University (MAJU) in Karachi.

    This event is conducted through the research project titled ‘Development of a System, Based on Preventive Approach to Address Food Safety Concerns in the Export of Pakistani Rice’ (ALP project/CS-410) being executed by Dr Saqib Arif, Project PI/PSO, Dr Qurratul Ain, Project Co-PI/SSO, Salman Khurshid, SO and other project team members of PARC-SARC, Karachi.

    The conference was inaugurated by the welcoming notes by Dr Muhammad Meraj, Dean, Mohammad Ali Jinnah University (MAJU) and Prof Dr Zubair Sheikh, President MAJU, Karachi. The conference Chief Guest was Prof Dr Fateh Muhammad Marri, Vice Chancellor, Sindh Agriculture University (SAU), Tandojam. Vote of Thanks by Dr Zakir Hussain Dahri, Director General, PARC-SARC, Karachi.

    The conference was addressed by the international and national experts including Dr Qasim Chaudhry Visiting Professor University of Chester/ Ex-Principal Scientist, UK’s FERA, UK. Dr Qasim discussed about ‘Pakistani rice in the international marketplace quality & safety issues and future challenges. Prof Dr Zabta Khan Shinwari, T.I.; S.I. Professor Emeritus Quaid-i-Azam University, Islamabad talked about ‘Drought tolerance to overcome toxicity and ensuring food safety of rice’. Dr Muhammad Yusuf, National Coordinator (Rice)/PD (Rice project), PARC, Islamabad shared his expertise for the Role of rice sector in Pakistan for national & global food security. Pakistan rice genetic resources diversity for grain quality potential was discussed by Dr Sadar Uddin Siddiqui, Ex-Member (PSD), PARC, Islamabad and Pakistan rice genetic resources – Diversity for grain quality potential by Dr Sadar Uddin Siddiqui, Ex-Member (PSD), PARC, Islamabad.

    Dr Allah Ditta Abid, PPA&DG, Department of Plant Protection, MNFSR, GoP, and Muhammad Anwar Mianoor, Senior Vice Chairman, Rice Exporters Association of Pakistan (REAP), Karachi also graced the occasion.

    Speakers said that the threats to the public health and exports have compounded over time despite the fact that agriculture is the main underpinning pillar of economy of a developing country like Pakistan.

    They said that the agro-commodities like rice which is the second most significant export crop in Pakistan also being suffering from excessive levels of contaminants mainly aflatoxins and pesticide residues. As a result of violation of international standards for maintaining food safety concerns consignments of rice of Pakistan have been confiscated that has also been noticed in current year from EU, they added.

    Rice is a staple food for almost half of the world’s population. Pakistan is amongst top five rice exporters and brings an average of 1.9 billion USD foreign exchange by exporting 4 million tons of rice every year. Unfortunately, Pakistan could not increase its share beyond 10 percent of the total world exports of rice.

    They said that Pakistan carries a huge potential as it produces both aromatic and non-aromatic rice varieties with sufficient quantities to serve the local as well as international markets. Besides other factors, the difficulties in meeting requirements of international standards for maintaining food safety concerns are one of the major causes of stagnant rice exports.

  • Increase in rice demand may benefit Pakistan, says FAO report

  • ISLAMABAD: The intensification of demand for rice from all regions of the world, except Asia, is expected to benefit Pakistan to register strong rebounds in 2022, the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) of the United Nations says in its report on ‘World Food Outlook’.

    The international trade in rice is anticipated to expand for the third consecutive year in 2022, with volumes exchanged across the world forecast at 53.1 million tonnes — three per cent higher than the 2021 peak.

    The report says this may benefit shipments from Brazil, China, Pakistan, Uruguay and especially Thailand. India is predicted to remain the world’s largest rice exporter, report says.

    In Pakistan, the record high output of rice stood at 9.323 million tonnes during 2020-21 — higher by 10.7 per cent than previous year’s production of 8.420 million tonnes. Official statistics showed that from the last couple of years, area under rice cultivation is witnessing a rising trend. As domestic rice production exceeds domestic annual requirement, the country often has exportable surplus.

    FAO’s biannual report, released last week, says total rice utilisation in 2022-23 is pegged at 522 million tonnes, only slightly above the 2021-22 high, as another sturdy expansion in food intake is forecast to be mostly outweighed by declines in non-food uses. To meet this forecast volume of use, global rice inventories would need to be drawn down, albeit by a small volume of 0.8 million tonnes.

    This would place world rice stocks at 191.6 million tonnes, their second highest level on record, largely due to accumulations in China (mainland) and India. International rice prices have risen steadily since the beginning of 2022 amid strong import demand and supply constraints in the Japonica and fragrant segments.

    The 2022 season is by now well-advanced south of the equator, where harvests of the first or sole crop of the season have wrapped up, while in the northern hemisphere, sowings of 2022 crops have just begun. Although much will depend on weather patterns, especially in the context of the lingering La Niña conditions, FAO pegs its preliminary forecast for world rice production in 2022 at 519.5 million tonnes (milled basis), implying a minor (1.4 million tonnes) fall from the 2021 record-high and the second largest harvest on record.

    Asia, the world’s rice bowl, is expected to sustain this generally positive result. Prospects for the region are bolstered by forecasts of generally normal monsoon rains. In addition, although hikes in the prices of alternate crops are exposing the sector to more intense competition for land this season, Asian paddy plantings are seen as remaining largely unscathed as the strategic role of rice in food security provides the sector with strong government assistance.

    Limited availabilities of water for irrigation cloud the outlook for Iraq, Iran, Pakistan, with output also seen falling in South Korea and Japan. Yet, the largest absolute Asian output contractions are forecast to take place in Sri Lanka and Myanmar, where scarce and inaccessible inputs, on the backdrop of broader economic constraints, weigh heavily on production prospects this year.

    According to the outlook, world rice utilisation has expanded at an accelerated annual rate of close to two per cent since 2020-21, as expansions in state assistance programmes are helping vulnerable consumers cope with the impact of the pandemic coincided with a revival in the use of rice for animal feed. Early expectations for the 2022-23 season, however, point to a somewhat altered rice consumption landscape. Total rice utilisation is forecast to exceed its 2021-22 record volume by a small margin of 0.2 per cent (1.0 million tonnes) to reach 522.0m tonnes (milled basis).

    The report says that global food import bill is on course to hit a new record of $1.8 trillion this year, but higher prices and transport costs rather than volumes account for the bulk of the expected increase. The global food import bill is projected to rise by $51 billion from 2021, of which $49bn reflects higher prices. “These are alarming signs from a food security perspective, indicating that importers will find it difficult to finance rising international costs, potentially heralding an end of their resilience to higher prices,” the report notes.

  • Sindh CS promises to resolve issues of rice exporters

  • KARACH: Dr Sohail Rajput, Chief Secretary Sindh on Wednesday said the government of Sindh will extend full support to resolve issues of rice exporters to bring more foreign exchange in the country.

    Addressing a lunch hosted by Rice Exports Association of Pakistan (Reap) in his honor, Rajput said that agriculture sector is the backbone of the country’s economy, however, there is a lack of research & development in this important sector, of which the per acre yield is much lower than other countries.

    He said young generation has to step forward and contribute its role for the growth of economy.

    He said the Sindh government is fully committed to facilitating the agricultural sector and willing to initiate various projects on Public Private Partnership to support the agricultural sector particularly farmers.

    He welcomed Reap’s proposals for the betterment of the rice sector and suggested holding a separate meeting of Reap team and Sindh Govt Officials next week to proceed further. He also assured full support of the government of Sindh for the betterment of the rice export sector.

    The Chief Secretary said that Reap is a very dynamic association and is earning billions of dollars for the country.

    He said that global climate change is a new challenge and there is a need to make policies ahead of climate changes. “We already have a shortage of water and climate change has created more challenges for the agriculture sector. This year water arrival is delayed due to climate change and there is also a need to advocate for the farmers for this challenge,” he added.

    New seed varieties are needed to be introduced and the Sindh government will facilitate the farmers and exporter for new seeds’ cultivation.

    Although Pakistan is an agricultural country, despite that it is facing a commodity shortage. The country is also facing a wheat shortage and will import 3 million tons of wheat to meet the domestic demand, Rajput mentioned.

    Pakistan’s external account is under pressure due to rising trade deficit. As per estimates, Pakistan will have Rs 45 billion trade deficits by the end of this fiscal year. Policy rate is already higher at 13.75 percent.

    “We can earn billions of dollars through IT exports. This year Pakistan’s IT exports will be 2.7 billion and still there is scope of massive growth,” he said.

    He appreciated the suggestion of energy saving through daylight and said that the proposal of energy saving through daylight will be put in the next cabinet meeting.

    Anwar Mianoor, Senior Vice Chairman Reap in his welcome address informed that rice from Sindh province has a huge share in total rice exports from Pakistan. Therefore, REAP has meetings with the Chief Secretary, Secretary Agriculture, Sindh Govt to enhance the agricultural output.

    He informed that Reap has submitted proposals for the betterment of rice crop and rice exports. Implementing these proposals, the government can enhance per acre yield and the former will definitely be the main beneficiary of these reforms.

    He thanked Sindh Govt for considering REAP’s proposal, especially to Secretary Agriculture to approve the Phytotron Tunnel Project. This project will be a game changer in the agriculture sector, he added.

    Abdul Rauf Ibrahim, Chairman KWGA suggested that as per international practices business hours should be 9 am to 7 pm to save energy. Solar energy should be promoted and all taxes on imports must be abolished, he demanded.

    He expressed concern over the unstable exchange rate and said that dollar impact on commodities is very adverse and Rs 2 increase in dollar resulted in Rs 5 price hike in commodities prices. He also demanded duty free import of agriculture equipment to facilitate the farmer.

    Rafique Suleman former chairman Reap said that rice exporters are playing an important role in the country’s economy. Currently, exporters are working for the entire rice chain from seed to export to earn more foreign exchange for the country.

    He said that Pakistan can earn $3 billion annually by exporting rice in the next two year however there is a need to enhance the crop output.

    Abdul Rahim Janoo, Chairman South Zone Group and Shahid Tawawalla also addressed the gathering.

  • Water shortages may shrink rice crop in FY2023

  • LAHORE: Water scarcity has emerged as the single biggest factor that may shrivel the paddy crop in fiscal year 2022-23 as the sowing area is shrinking.

    The likely dent in production of rice, however, may not fundamentally disturb demand and supply scenario during 2022-23 fiscal year as such given the availability of huge exportable surplus every year. As rice, the second important cereal crop of the country after wheat, is not a staple diet in this part of the world, Pakistan used to harvest about 60 percent surplus produce every year.

    One of the worrying factors for inflation-hit consumers is said to be higher rice prices in the next fiscal year. The price of Basmati and coarse varieties is already going through the roof with Rs40/kg surge recorded in a single day this week in official prices notified by the administration.

    According to processors, rice prices are trending up with the wheat and other grains coupled with projections of low next crop output.

    According to market insiders, Pakistan, being one of the top exporters of rice, is however, expected to dominate its position at least in terms of value during 2022-23 and may recede to some extent in shipped volume due to likely drop in domestic output.

    Anticipating one of the lowest river inflows of 45 percent than average and perpetual dry weather conditions with little rain since late spring season and projection of almost no rains even during pre-monsoon and early monsoon period, policymakers fixed rice sowing target on the lower side. Without rain, one simply cannot imagine sowing paddy. The crucial phase of paddy crop during May 15 to June 30, when paddy nurseries are planted and mass transplantation is done into growers’ field, has been predicted to be devoid of required moisture because of extremely low canal supplies and delay in the onset of monsoon.

    Hence, the production target for the current season has been set on the lower side against last year’s record output of 8.9 million tonnes.

    The Federal Committee on Agriculture (FCA) has fixed a national rice production target of 8.6 million tonnes to be produced over an area of 3.1 million hectares of land for the 2022-23 season.

    Punjab, the major rice producing province having over 85 percent share in production of Basmati varieties, drastically reduced the target for bringing area under cultivation for Kharif 2022 season. According to official data, Punjab foresees about 21 percent reduction in area under paddy -from 6.31 million acres cultivated last year to just 5.00 million acres in the current season.

    Per acre yield of paddy is however expected to be slightly better this time, which may contribute positively in harvesting a better crop in terms of volume. The total production of rice has been pegged at from 4.70 million tonnes in 2022-23 against 5.77 million tonnes harvested last year, showing a drop of about 19 percent.

    As per official data, Punjab Agriculture Department expects an ambitious all-time high yield of 23.52 maund/acre, showing about three percent improvement in productivity of harvest in the ongoing season.

    Paddy crop in Sindh province, which is a lower riparian region located at the tail-end of the Indus Basin, is feared to be much shorter in terms of area during the 2022-23 season. There has been a downward trend in bringing rice under cultivation in the Sindh province, which is otherwise known for achieving higher per acre yield of coarse varieties. These varieties are particularly in high demand in the global market due to a variety of reasons.

    To overcome the adverse impact of water shortage, authorities are trying to convince farmers to sow rice through mechanised direct-seeded rice (DSR) technology being a viable alternative to conventional methods of sowing under the current scenario of water and labour shortage.

    According to a study, research results have shown that mechanised DSR can save 35-57 percent water, 67 percent labour and time compared to conventional sowing without any yield penalty. However, weeds used to become a major nuisance in the absence of standing water in the field, requiring higher cost on weedicides or their mechanical/manual eradication.

    More importantly, owing to no proper training opportunities for the farmers to adopt such agronomic practices and lack of proper mechanical implements on large-scale, adoption of such intervention remains a pipe dream.

    After water shortage, the dearth of quality seed, especially of Basmati varieties, will continue to haunt farmers. The fine quality basmati rice varieties exhibiting special features such as elongated grain and aroma have increasingly become scarce as public sector research institutions have failed to meet expectations of farmers.

    Consequently, Pakistan lost its competitive edge in Basmati as indicated by its plummeting shares in total basmati export, which was conveniently snatched by its competitor India. Local institutions have not been able to introduce Basmati seed having higher yield and more elongated kernel size.

    It may be noted that rice contributes 3.5 percent of value added in agriculture and 0.7 percent in GDP. Rice production comprises basmati and coarse types. For the last few years, production of coarse types has been increasing. During 2020-21, the crop was cultivated on 3,335 thousand hectares, reflecting an increase of 9.9 percent as compared to last year’s sown area of 3,034 thousand hectares. During 2021-22, a record production growth of 13.6 percent was witnessed. This was essentially due to rising unit prices and higher demand for the country’s rice in export markets. Pakistan has been among the world’s top ten largest producers of rice. Country’s exports make up around eight percent of the world's total rice trade. It is an important cash and food crop in the agriculture economy of the country.

  • Chinese breeding technology helping high yield of Pakistani rice

  • Chairman Pakistan Hi Tech Hybrid Seed Association(PHHSA) Shahzad Ali Malik on Sunday said that Chinese breeding technology helping Pak farmers to easily cultivate high-yield, disease resistant new rice varieties for exports. Talking to a delegation of progressive farmers led by Shafique Ur Rehman here today, he said Chinese enterprises and research institutes that evolved new varieties of seeds and introduced excellent cultivation techniques helping farmers which boosted rice production in Pakistan and exports to China.

    He said guard agricultural research and services was the first in the country which brought hybrid rice technology from China to Pakistan in 1999 through a collaboration agreement with a number one technology provider ‘Yuan Longping’ high tech Agriculture Company. Shahzad Ali Malik, who is also founder chairman Rice Exporters Association of Pakistan (REAP) disclosed that China during first quarter of current fiscal year, under bilateral trade, imported from Pakistan more than 466,617 tonnes of different types of rice increasing 9.34pc by volume and $175,99 million by worth.

    He said broken rice commodity increased 41.70pc by worth crossing $57.69 million. He said both countries have close cooperation in the agriculture sector which was showing positive results especially in high yielding rice varieties. He said PHHSA was the only one in private sector which was conducting ultra modern research in evolving hi tech hybrid seeds in Pakistan with a sole objective of extending helping hand to government for boosting agricultural production and meeting ever increasing food staples needs of population.

  • Rice exports increase 17.21% in 10 months, reached $2.051 billion

  • ISLAMABAD: Rice exports from the country during 10 months of current financial year witnessed about 17.21% increase as compared the corresponding period of last year.

    During the period from July-April, 2021-22 4,044,269 metric tons of rice valuing $2.051 billion exported as against the exports of 3.190,559 metric tons worth $1.750 billion of same period of last year, according the data of Pakistan Bureau of Statistics.

    Meanwhile, basmati rice exports from the country during the period under review also grew by 22.12% and other rice by 15.44% respectively as 532,407 metric tons of basmati rice valuing 574.220 million exported as compared the exports of 508,691 metric tons worth $470.195 million of same period of last year.

    In last 10 months of current fiscal year, country earned $1.477 billion by exporting about 3,411,862 metric tons of rice other then basmati as against the exports of 2,681,868 metric tons worth of $1.279 billion of same period last year.

    On month on month basis, rice exports from the country grew by 36.94% in April, 2022 as 461.513 metric tons of rice valuing $511.806 million as against 307,546 metric tons worth of $189.616 million of same month of last year.

    It is worth mentioning here that the food group imports into the country during the month of April, 2022 food group imports into the country decreased by 12.61% and recorded at $697.866 million as against the imports of $777.958 million of  same month of last year.

    In last 10 months of current financial year, different food commodities valuing $7.747 billion imported as compared the imports of $6.899 billion of same period last year.

    During the period from July-April, 2021-22 food group imports into the country witnessed about 12.30% increase as compared the imports of of the corresponding period of lat year.

  • Stakeholders call for sustainability of rice sector

  • ISLAMABAD: WWF-Pakistan, in collaboration with OXFAM-GB, held a stakeholder meeting on the importance of a Sustainable Rice Platform (SRP) at a local hotel in Islamabad on Thursday.

    The aim of the meeting was to bring stakeholders together and discuss key challenges and opportunities in the rice sector, the implementation of a SRP in Pakistan, and creating an enabling environment for sustainable production of export quality rice at a national level.

    The meeting emphasized on how the local rice exporter can play a role in integrating SRP standards, including women economic empowerment (WEE) and climate change resilience (CCR), and jointly work with government authorities.

    Dr Masood Arshad, Senior Director Footprint, WWF-Pakistan said that through the implementation of SRP standard is necessary to overcome the challenges of frontline workers in this sector, especially women.

    He said that the changing climatic conditions particularly rising temperatures, unpredictable rainfall patterns and floods, are adversely impacting the yield of rice crop. The engagement of all rice stakeholders at this platform will support in the development of Local Adaptation Plan of Action (LAPA) and will ultimately contribute to the development of Rice Sectoral Plan at the national and provincial levels for appropriate allocation of climate finance, he added.

    Asad Imran, Director-Food and Markets, WWF-Pakistan presented an overview of the programme that led to insights for SRP implementation in Pakistan.

    He also said like Better Cotton Initiative (BCI) which is a global standard for cotton, facilitate in cotton exports from Pakistan. WWF-Pakistan as an implementing partner can ensure the SRP in rice cultivation that will open gates for rice exports in the international market, he added.

    He said the SRP in rice cultivation could mitigate the harmful effects of climate change and improve water management.

    Syed Shahnawaz Ali, Country Director, OXFAM-GB emphasized on the need for climate smart agriculture for reduction in greenhouse gas emissions. He also talked about standard certification, so that the agriculture sector in Pakistan can improve food commodity exports.

    ‘Through SRP, we can reduce the cost of production, improve water productivity and improve the livelihoods of local farmers’, he said and added the SRP is also a trade facilitator help the farmers to earn more and improve their livelihoods.

    WWF-Pakistan and OXFAM aims to not only to provide authentic, sustainable and traceable rice cultivation, but also to link SRP rice farmers with markets through rice processing industries. WWF-Pakistan along with OXFAM-GB, rice farmers and the private sector, will work on SRP and its implementation in the field.

  • Pakistan’s rice exports to China surpass 466,000 tons in first quarter

  • Pakistan's rice exports to China surpass 466,000 tons in first quarter

    BEIJING, May 13 (APP): Pakistan’s rice export in the first quarter of this year surpassed 466,000 tons ( around half-million tonnes), worth around $176 million, according to the General Administration of Customs of the People’s Republic of China (GACC).

    Data showed that during the first three months of 2022, bilateral trade has increased significantly. China imported more than 466,617 tons of different types of rice, increasing 9.34 % by volume and $175.99 million by worth, while last year in the same period it was 426,751 tons worth $186.45 million.

    According to the General Administration of Customs of the People’s Republic of China, the Broken rice Commodity Code (10064020), increased 41.70% by worth crossing $57.69 million. Last year in the same period it was $40.71 million. And it also increased 47.65% by volume, surpassing 166,740 tons. Last year it was 112,925 tons.

    The COVID-19 impacted the imports and exports in the last two to three months. In the first two months of 2022, China imported more than 347,434 tons of different types of rice, increasing 18% by volume while last year in the same period it was 294,240 tons worth $127.61 million. In March, rice export to China showed an downward trend, but overall, it has increased.

    The GACC data showed that from January-March of this year, the broken rice community code (10064080), significantly rose by 614% to $23.11 million, while last year in the same period it was $3.23 million and by volume crossed 640.44% to 667,66.25 tons, while in the first quarter of 2021 it was 9,017 tons.

    Commercial Counselor of Pakistani Embassy in Beijing, Badar uz Zaman told China Economic Net (CEN) that China and Pakistan have had very close cooperation in the agriculture sector during the last three-four years and now, positive results are coming from this bilateral cooperation, adding that China’s high-quality and high-yielding rice varieties have been widely promoted in Pakistan.

    “Although this year the COVID-19 Pandemic affected imports and exports, especially during the last two to three months, we will still achieve the target of one million tons of rice export to China.

    I thank the Chinese enterprises, and research institutes that introduced new varieties of seeds, promoted excellent cultivation techniques to local farmers and color sorter technologies to Pakistan, which helped increase the rice production in Pakistan and export to China,” Badar stated.

    He said that Chinese breeding technology to cultivate new rice varieties helped farmers easily grow high-yield, disease-resistant rice for exports.

    Former Vice President of Karachi Chamber of Commerce, Shamsul Islam Khan told CEN that there are 53 Pakistani rice enterprises on the approval list of Chinese Customs, if more companies get access to the Chinese market the rice trade would increase a lot.

    It may be noted that last year Pakistan exported about 973,000 tons of rice worth $437 million to China. Last year July, China’s custom allowed 7 more Pakistani rice units to export rice to the Chinese market and the total number of companies in the approved General Administration of Customs P.R of China list reached 53.

    It is also worth mentioning that overall Pakistan’s export to China in the first quarter of 2022 crossed $ 1.039 billion, which recorded a nearly 17% increase from January to March this year.

  • Grain-forage rice to improve land utilisation

  • China’s high-quality, high-yield rice varieties widely promoted in Pakistan

    Pakistan, once the world’s seventh-largest rice exporter, became the fourth-largest after the introduction of hybrid rice from China. PHOTO: china economic net


    Since Pakistan started importing Chinese high-yield rice seeds, the growers that used to produce 40 to 50 mounds now produce 100 mounds, said Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI) Vice President Shamsul Islam Khan.

    “Rice production in Pakistan has improved a lot, and we are exporting it,” he said.

    In the first quarter of this fiscal year, Pakistan’s export of rice rose by 17.5% to $423 million.

    “Pakistan is a major rice-growing and exporting country. China’s high-quality and high-yield rice varieties have been widely promoted in Pakistan. Pakistan has sufficient sunlight and fewer plant diseases and pests, making it easier to obtain high yields,” said President of International Exchange and Cooperation Branch of China Seed Association Zhang Qin, who is also the CEO of Win-all Hi-Tech Seed Co Ltd.

    Win-all Hi-Tech has been doing seed cooperation with Pakistan for almost 25 years. “We entered Pakistani market in 2007. The growth period of the first variety we introduced in Pakistan was 20 days shorter than that of the local variety, and the output was more than 100% higher. It caused a great flutter among rice farmers in Sindh at that time,” Zhang recalled.

    Zhang said that the company is now cooperating with scientists from Chinese Academy of Sciences to cultivate a new rice variety that can be used for both grain and forage.

    They use the genes of brittle culm and efficient nitrogen utilisation to transform current rice varieties, so that the grain of plants can be eaten by humans, and the straw can feed cattle and sheep.

    “Now we are testing this dual-purpose rice variety extensively in China. The straw is very tasty for livestock. Lambs, in particular, gain weight quickly while eating it. Such breed can greatly improve land utilisation.”


  • Rice Cultivation Must Start After May 20

  • FAISALABAD – The Agriculture Department has advised farmers to start cultivation of rice after May 20 and complete it by end of June for getting good yield. A spokesman for the department told APP on Friday that the best time for cultivation of rice varieties AARI-6, KS-282, KSK-133 and NIAB AARI-9 is between May 25 to June 7, whereas Super Basmati could be cultivated from May 25 to June 20. He said that June 1 to 20 was the best time for cultivation of Basmati-370, Basmati-385, Basmati Pak, Basmati-2000 and Basmati-515. Similarly, Basmati-198 could be cultivated in the areas of Sahiwal and Okara from June 1 to 15 while the suitable time for cultivation of Shaheen Basmati was June 15 to 30, the spokesman added. He said that average rice production was about 22 maunds per acre in Pakistan whereas in other countries its per acre yield was double or triple compared with Pakistan. He advised farmers to use latest technology for cultivation and harvesting rice crop in addition to applying balanced fertilizers and in-time watering. He also advised growers to get soil tests of their lands before cultivating crops. It would help in selecting accurate fertilizer for the crops in addition to saving precious money which the growers wasted in unbalanced fertilization. Responding to yet another query, he said all fertilizers having phosphors and potash should be applied before planting saplings of rice in the field whereas zinc sulphate should be applied after 12-14 days of planting saplings. Similarly, nitrogen (urea) fertilizers should be applied before water after 30-35 days of planting rice saplings in the field, he added.

  • Rice Market Update: Uncertainty Remains Key Factor

  • The true nature of long grain plantings continue to be debated in the U.S., with the USDA showing flat to last year, and the industry being confident of a 10-15% cut. Time will tell, but futures prices are showing a suspected cut in acreage, and paddy prices would support the same. Uncertainty of both the market and weather continue to hover over farmers. Meterorologists at Colorado State University are predicting an “above average” 2022 hurricane season that begins June 1. Nineteen storms are forecast for the Atlantic basin. Above-average sea surface temperatures and the lack of El Nino developing that would suppress hurricane activity by increasing vertical wind shear is the contributing factor.

    Prices for long grain milled are priced at or just above $650 pmt, whereas prices in South America are at least $100 pmt below that. South America is in the peak of their harvest season, with several questions swirling around the drought situation in Brazil. We know that Uruguay has crested the high point, and is on the downhill slope of the last 20% of their crop. Argentina is just ahead of them. Brazil and Paraguay are the big swings that will be coming to light in the next few weeks.

    In Asia, prices have held steady despite the inflationary rise that so many other commodities have seen. For more than a quarter now, prices in Thailand and Vietnam have oscillated around $400 pmt, while India and Pakistan have been around $360 pmt. This can in large part be attributed to India, who hasn’t slowed exports over the COVID-19 pandemic, and has been responsible for its third record crop in as many years.

    India’s farm subsidies, which many speculate have led to their record crop, has blunted the inflationary impacts of rice world-wide. With rice being the most basic food calorie for human consumption that prevents hunger for the poorest nations, this can be viewed as a positive in the global environment. However, India’s rice subsidy violations have put a burden on many rice producers around the globe; these violations were front-and-center this week with the World Trade Organization (WTO).

    India has been called out by the U.S. rice industry and others to stop creating an unfair playing field with their rice subsidy program. It is making rice from the United States and other origins uncompetitive on a global scale, and can have severe detrimental impacts on food security world-wide in the future.

    Prices on the ground show Texas in the lead at $17/cwt. Louisiana is strong at $15.25/cwt, while prices in Mississippi, Arkansas, and Missouri are fluctuation between $14.75-$15.75 based on variety and qualities.

    The weekly USDA Export Sales report shows net sales of 8,300 MT this week, a marketing-year low, down 51% from the previous week and 81% from the prior 4-week average. Increases primarily for Mexico (13,700 MT), Haiti (7,300 MT), Jordan (4,000 MT), the Dominican Republic (2,000 MT), and Honduras (1,500 MT), were offset by reductions primarily for Colombia (22,000 MT).

    Exports of 80,300 MT were up noticeably from the previous week and up 98% from the prior 4-week average. The destinations were primarily to Mexico (32,700 MT), Colombia (22,300 MT), Haiti (15,300 MT), El Salvador (4,100 MT), and Canada (2,000 MT).In the futures market, May 22 prices are down just over 1% this week to $16.010. May 23 contracts are about flat from last week, now at $16.615. Average Daily Volume registers at 411, down 23% from last week, while open interest is flat at 9,701.

  • Pakistan’s rice production

  • With harvest complete and better than expected yields, the 2021-22 rice production estimate is increased from 8.2m to a record 8.9m tonnes, according to the US Department of Agriculture
  • Kazakhstan eager to import rice

  • Will host trade summit exclusively for Pakistani companies in Almaty photo file ISLAMABAD: Kazakhstan is interested in importing rice directly from Pakistan, said the Central Asian republic Ambassador Yerzhan Kistafin. In a meeting with Federal Minister for National Food Security and Research Syed Fakhar Imam on Friday, the Kazakhstan envoy said that his country was buying the commodity from Russia. He pointed out that Kazakhstan was hosting a trade summit exclusively for Pakistan in Almaty in May 2022 to give Pakistani companies an opportunity to showcase their products before the Kazakh business community. “Over 60 Pakistani companies from various sectors of the economy will participate in the exhibition,” he said, adding that the firms specialising in agricultural machinery, agricultural products, sports goods, surgical instruments, handicrafts and confectionery would display their products. He expressed keen interest in enhancing bilateral ties with Pakistan and recalled that during the 10th session of Intergovernmental Commission on Trade, Economic, Scientific, Technical and Cultural Cooperation between Kazakhstan and Pakistan, both nations agreed to increase the turnover of agricultural products. The meeting took place in November 2021. Speaking on the occasion, Minister for National Food Security and Research Fakhar Imam emphasised that Pakistan was producing surplus rice and potato, which could be exported to Kazakhstan. “Pakistan looks forward to strengthening its relationship with Kazakhstan and taking it to the next level,” he remarked. “Although Pakistan’s trade with Kazakhstan is the highest among all Central Asian countries, it is still below the true potential.” Imam highlighted that Pakistan and Kazakhstan needed to take advantage of the opportunities at hand and ensure maximum cooperation. He was of the view that deepening bilateral cooperation could benefit both sides immensely. The two dignitaries discussed the memorandum of understanding signed between the Ministry of Agriculture of Kazakhstan and the Ministry of National Food Security and Research on cooperation in the field of agriculture. Imam stressed the need for enhancing cooperation in livestock breeding and plant cultivation, trade in agricultural products, quarantine and plant protection, veterinary medicines and agricultural research. “Collaboration in scientific research can prove to be the cornerstone in trade relations between the two countries,” he said. “Pakistan’s food security faces a number of challenges but with the right policy interventions, the agriculture sector can be transformed.” Local agriculture has been depending on the traditional farming techniques but it is time that the country begins to look at the future and goes for modernisation, the minister said. Both sides agreed to hold an online meeting in April 2022 between the officials of the Ministry of Agriculture of Kazakhstan and the Ministry of National Food Security and Research to further enhance cooperation.
  • Utility stores jack up rice, basin prices ahead of Ramazan

  • Utility stores jack up rice, basin prices ahead of Ramazan ISLAMABAD – Prices of basin and rice, the two commodities most used in Ramazan, have been increased massively at the utility stores as the holy month of fast is set to begin in early April. The price of basin has been jacked up by Rs30 to Rs190 per kilogram, according to a notification issued by the Utility Stores Corporation. The price of rice has been increased by Rs25 per kg. The new price will come into effect immediately, said the notification.  
  • Rice Exports Surge By 11.61 Per Cent In Seven Months

  • ISLAMABAD  – Rice exports from the country during first 07 months of current financial year increased by 11.16% as compared to exports of the corresponding period of last year. During the period from July-January, 2021-22, over 2.179 million tons of rice valuing $1.286 billion was exported as against the exports of 2.179 million tons valuing $1.157 billion of same period last year. According the trade data released by Pakistan Bureau of Statistics, the exports of Basmati rice also increased by 28.58% in last 07 months as 414,190 metric tons of Basmati rice valuing $362.183 million was exported as against the exports of 293,761 metric tons worth $281.675 million of same period last year. Meanwhile, country earned $924.668 million by exporting about 2.138 million tons of rice other than Basmati as against the exports of 1.886 million tons worth $875.959 million of same period last year. On year on year basis, the exports of rice also witnessed significant growth of 13.30% as 434,382 metric tons of rice valuing $220.078 million was exported in January, 2022 as compared to exports of 329,999 metric tons worth $194.245 million of same period last year. The exports of Basmati rice also grew by 08.97% in month of January, 2022 as 62,734 metric tons of above mentioned commodity valuing $58.086 million was exported as against the exports of 60,609 metric tons costing $53.305 million of same month of last year. It is worth mentioning here that food group exports from the country during first 07 months of current financial year increased by 20.87% as compared to the exports of the corresponding period of last year as different food commodities worth $2.952 billion were exported as against the exports of $2.444 billion of same period last year. The exports of food group from the country witnessed about 14.31% growth on year on year basis in January, 2022 as compared to same month of last year. During the period under review, the exports of all major food items recorded positive growth as exports of rice grew by 11.16%, fish and fish preparations 5.08%, fruits 11.60%, vegetables 11.36%, spices 22.94%, meat and meat preparations 1.68% respectively. Meanwhile, food group imports into the country also recorded increase of about 21.32% during July-January, 2021-22 as food commodities costing $5.629 billion were imported as against the import of $4.639 billion of same period last year. The food group imports into the country on year on basis also recorded about 13.05% growth in January, 2022 as against the imports of January, 2021. During month of January, 2022, different food commodities valuing $830.844 million were imported as compared to import of $734.953 million of same month last year. In last 07 months imports of soyabean oil increased by 34.70%, palm oil 55.75%, sugar 49.84%, pulses 14.94%, tea imports into the country grew by 5.48% as corresponding period of last year.
  • Biryani plate becomes dearer as rice prices go up

  • The mouth-watering biryani is being packed in a plastic tub at an outlet. (Right) A rice shop in Jodia Bazaar.—Fahim Siddiqi / White Star KARACHI: The retail prices of various varieties of rice have been increased by up to Rs40 per kilo almost a month before Ramazan. Traders claim that the prices have been raised due to rise in exports and high transportation cost. The retail price of medium quality basmati is now Rs200 as compared to Rs160 per kg while normal basmati is selling at Rs150-160 instead of Rs120-130 per kg. Premium basmati is now priced at Rs250 per kg. A biryani shop owner said he had to pass on the impact of price hike of at least Rs10 per plate to customers as he was compelled to procure basmati Sella rice at Rs20-30 per kg higher rate from wholesale markets. He said he sold a biryani plate at Rs130. “Some other outlet owners are selling at Rs140 per plate depending on the area.” In bigger food shops, premium basmati rice biryani (double plate) is being sold at Rs300-330 and single plate at Rs170-200. While it is not easy for a buyer to judge the quality of rice in biryani, traders and biryani restaurants take full advantage of this ignorance by mixing various varieties. General secretary of the Karachi Retail Grocers Group (KRGG) Farid Qureishi said that price jump in basmati and other varieties of rice was not a matter of concern for the rich who continued to buy expensive commodities without any problem in higher quantities for monthly consumption. He said, however, the lower and middle income groups, who are hit hard by rising food inflation and utility bills, had been limiting their buying as per their requirement. A member of the Rice Exporters Association of Pakistan (REAP), Anis Majeed, said that despite a drop in transportation cost after Rs10 reduction cut in fuel rates on March 1, rice prices had been soaring owing to previous massive hikes in transportation cost because of diesel and petrol rates. He said exports were in full swing, thus putting pressure on local prices despite the fact that exports were made at a very low wholesale rates. Rupee devaluation against the dollar is certainly benefiting exports. Pakistan’s rice production is over seven million tonnes per annum in which exports have been hovering between 3.5 and four million tonnes while the rest is consumed domestically. Export destinations are Europe, Gulf countries, Australia, US, China, African countries, the Far East, etc. According to figures of the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics, basmati exports rose by 41pc and 414,190 tonnes of rice were exported in seven months of fiscal year 2022 from 293,761 tonnes in the same period of the last fiscal year. In terms of value, it is a jump of 28per cent, i.e., $362 million from $282 million. Other varieties of exports grew by 13pc, 2.138m tonnes from 1.886mn tonnes, while it went up by 5.56pc in terms of value, $924mn from $876mn, in seven months of fiscal year 2021. Mr Anis said due to massive hike in freight rates and lack of availability of shipping containers, rice exporters had chartered two to three bulk vessels destined for African countries in the last three months to load rice cargo in these vessels. Each vessel had carried 35,000-40,000 tonnes of rice. Besides, demand from China for Pakistani rice also remained high. In financial year 2021, export of other varieties had plunged to 3.062 million tonnes fetching $1.465 billion as compared to 3.3 million tonnes valuing $1.39bn in FY20. Basmati exports earned $575 million from 629,069 tonnes in FY21 from 865,949 tonnes earning $783mn in FY20. Rice exports in FY21 remained subdued due to low price offered by India for non basmati and higher freight charges from October 2020 amid Covid-19 pandemic. However Chinese buying of Pakistani non basmati rice kept the exports moving.
  • All is not good with rice exports

  • Export earnings grow, but per-unit price of Pakistani rice is going down a worker harvests hybrid rice at a rice research base in northern costa rica may 1 2010 photo xinhua gabiera KARACHI: There’s good news about rice exports. And there is bad news as well. In the first seven months of current fiscal year, ie between July 2021 and January 2022, the overall rice export earnings rose to about $1.287 billion from around $1.158 billion in the year-ago period. This, of course, is good news. The bad news is that both Basmati and non-Basmati varieties of rice fetched a lower per-unit price. Pakistan earned $362.18 million through exports of Basmati in the first seven months of FY22, higher than $281.67 million in the same period of previous year, showing an increase of about 28.6%. But to achieve that much increase in export earnings it had to ship 41% more Basmati – 414,190 tonnes in seven months of FY22 against 293,761 tonnes in seven months of FY21. These are official stats released by the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS). Trade figures also reveal that export revenue from non-Basmati varieties went up to $924.67 million this year from $875.96 million last year, an increase of about 5.6%. But that growth in export earnings also came on the back of a much bigger increase in export volumes of non-Basmati rice varieties. Export volumes in July-January FY22 totalled 2.14 million tonnes against 1.89 million tonnes in July-January FY21, an increase of about 13.4%. What does this all mean? It means that the per-unit price of Pakistani rice is going down. Let’s see why? Pakistani exporters of non-Basmati rice make most of the shipments in bulk. The bulk cargoes landing in the importing countries are either sold in loose form or packed in customised small packaging by the importers before retailing. In some cases, non-Basmati varieties are first imported by the international traders based in Dubai or Singapore or elsewhere and re-exported to other countries either in loose form or after customised retail packaging. The same happens with the export shipments of Basmati rice, but on a lower scale and with lesser frequency. Since prices of rice in loose form always remain lower than the branded rice in small packaging, the situation discussed above keeps the per-tonne price of Pakistan’s rice exports lower than what it could be. As world trade is rebounding after the 2020 pandemic-induced recession, this has created a shortage of containers across the globe. This, too, has made it more difficult for rice exporters to meet their shipment deadlines negotiated with the importers, who want rice in small packaging delivered to their destinations of choice on time. That is why many rice exporters, particularly commercial exporters, find it easier to meet import orders through third parties that need bulk cargoes of loose rice, for which there is no need of containers because such cargo is generally transported from one country to another through bulk cargo vessels. Based on data of first seven months of FY22, the average export price of Basmati came to $874.4 per tonne, substantially lower than what it was in FY21. In seven months of FY21, the average export price of Basmati stood close to $959 per tonne, an analysis of PBS data reveals. In seven months of FY22, the average export price of non-Basmati rice stood at $432.4 per tonne, down from $464.4 per tonne in the same period of FY21. New markets, byproducts Of late, the Ministry of Commerce, Trade Development Authority of Pakistan (TDAP) and Rice Exporters Association of Pakistan all have been making efforts to penetrate newer export markets and the growth in export volumes indicates that they have met with success. They also need to be equally enthusiastic about improving the per-unit export price of Basmati and non-Basmati rice. The decline in the average export price between July 2021 and January 2022 needs an in-depth analysis by TDAP because average cereal prices have lately been showing an upward trend. The FAO Food Price Index – which also takes rice prices into account – shows that between January 2021 and January 2022, cereal prices went up by 12.5%. Moving forward, rice export earnings can be enhanced not only through higher per-unit price achieved via branding and retail packaging, but also through exports of byproducts of rice and value-added rice-based products. Liquid glucose obtained from broken rice, rice flakes from broken rice, fructose syrup from broken rice, rice starch and finally rice flour are some well-known value-added products. Does Pakistan export any of these value-added products in any sizable quantity? Certainly not! Similarly, rice straw, rice hull, rice germ, rice bran, rice bran oil and wax are some of the most acknowledged byproducts. Does Pakistan export any of these items in any sizable quantity? Sadly, the answer is again a big no. Even in domestic markets, rice flour manufacturing for use in confectionery industry and the entire business of preparation of roasted and puffed rice remains almost exclusively in the hands of the unorganised sector. However, the quality-conscious consumers prefer to buy the branded rice puff packets of 1 kg and 0.5 kg imported from Bangladesh. This isn’t an ideal situation for a country that produces close to nine million tonnes of milled rice per year with a history of total output growing year after year. Ten years ago, in 2012, Pakistan produced just 5.5 million tonnes of rice. But rice output in 2022 is expected to reach 8.9 million tonnes, according to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) projections, from 8.4 million tonnes in 2021.
  • Rice exports go up 11.16pc

  • ISLAMABAD: Rice exports from the country increased by 11.16 per cent to 2.179 million tonnes in the first seven months of current financial year (7MFY22) from 2.179m tonnes in the same period last year, trade data shared by the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS) showed on Friday. During July-January 2021-22, over 2.179m tonnes of rice valuing $1.286 billion was exported as against the exports of 2.179m tonnes valuing $1.157bn in 7MFY21. Exports of Basmati rice also increased by 28.58pc in 7MFY22. A total 414,190 tonnes of Basmati rice valuing $362.183m was exported in the period against exports of 293,761 tonnes worth $281.675m in 7MFY21. The country earned $924.668m by exporting about 2.138m tonnes of rice other then Basmati in 7MFY22 as against the exports of 1.886m tonnes worth $875.959m of same period last year. On year-on-year basis, rice exports witnessed significant growth of 13.30pc as 434,382 tonnes of rice valuing $220.078m was exported in January as compared the exports of 329,999 tonnes worth $194.245m of same period last year. The exports of Basmati rice also grew by 08.97pc in month of January as 62,734 tonnes of above mentioned commodity valuing $58.086m exported as against the exports of 60,609 tonnes costing $53.305m of same month of last year. It is worth mentioning here that food group exports from the country during 7MFY22 increased by 20.87pc as compared to the exports of the corresponding period of last year. Commodities worth $2.952bn were exported in the period as against the exports of $2.444bn in 7MFY21. The exports of food group from the country witnessed about 14.31pc growth on year on year basis in January as compared to same month last year. During the period under review, exports of all major food items recorded positive growth as exports of rice grew by 11.16pc, fish and fish preparation 5.08pc, fruits 11.60pc, vegetables 11.36pc spices 22.94pc, meat and meat preparation 1.68pc, respectively. Meanwhile, food group imports into the country also recorded an increase of about 21.32pc during July-Jan FY22 as food commodities costing $5.629bn imported as against the import of $4.639bn of same period last year. The food group imports into the country on year on basis also recorded about 13.05pc growth in January as against the imports in the same month in 2021. During month of January different food commodities valuing $830.844m imported as compared the import of $734.953m of same period last year. In 7MFY22 imports of soyabean oil increased by 34.70pc, palm oil 55.75pc, sugar 49.84pc, pulses 14.94pc, tea imports into the country grew by 5.48pc as corresponding period of last year.  
  • Pakistan’s rice exports to China increased 133% in 2021

  • Pakistan’s export of rice to China (HS Code 1006) crossed $400 million in 2021, up 133 percent year on year, and in the first five months of the last year once Pakistan remained the largest rice supplier to China. China Economic Net (CEN) reported this on Tuesday quoting official data from the General Administration of Customs of the People’s Republic of China (GACC). Commercial Counselor of the Pakistan Embassy Beijing Badar uz Zaman previously said that in the next few years, his target is to achieve one million tons of rice. He desires that Pakistan will become the largest player in this market. This year China imported about 973,000 tons of rice worth $437 million from Pakistan. The seven new Pakistan rice exporters have been added to the approved list which has risen to 53 last year, and China relaxed import restrictions on Pakistani rice which helped rice export to China. Commercial Counselor Badar uz Zaman told CEN that Pakistan has become the third-largest exporter of rice to China, added that they are using traditional and especially social media platforms to provide awareness about Pakistani rice in this market. “We are also in discussion with the Chinese government for the technology transfer of sea rice because huge saline land along the coastal districts can be used for rice cultivation. The Chinese have been successful in their experiments to use the saline land and we can learn this from China,” Badar added. This year semi or wholly milled rice (Commodity Code 10063020) crossed about $249 millio, increased 85% as compared to last year, which followed by broken rice (Commodity Code 10064020) reached $125 million, up 201% year on year. Badar further said that the number of Pakistani restaurants isincreasing in China that helped Pakistani Basmati rice improve exports here, and Middle Eastern restaurants like Lebanese and Turkish restaurants also use Basmati rice. Previously there was no presence of Basmati rice because Chinese normally like the other varieties of rice, but now the Chinesebuying power is being increased, and the tendency to use expensive products and special aromatic basmati rice will create a pull from the Chinese market. Miss Xie working as a manager in a Pakistani restaurant is amazed that more Chinese customers are coming to eat Basmati rice because it’s different from Chinese rice and it has a special fragrance. The grains remain separate after cooking. Asif Jalil, owner of Little Lahore a famous restaurant in China told CEN that Thai Jasmine rice is very popular here because they created the demand in the Chinese market and now, they are capturing & enjoying the market, he added Pakistan still needs to work hard to grab the whole market because the Chinese market is too big. “The quantity of Pakistani rice exported to China, at this moment does not represent the demand from the local consumers. It only tells that we let some of the consumers try Pakistani rice. When this export grows over a certain period, then basically, we will be able to see the number of returning consumers to rightly quantify the growth in demand for Pakistani rice,” he added. Pakistani rice exporters expressed that the shipping cost is too high due to COVID-19 and the price of rice in the domestic market goes up while the end-users are still buying on old rates. If they get subsidies or some incentives from the Chinese side, that would help increase much more exports of Pakistani rice to China. They also said that 1121 Basmati Rice has very high quality in Pakistan but the price of this type of rice is the same as Indian traders are getting in the Chinese market, while quality has a huge difference, adding that the Pakistani government needs much more effort to increase further exports of rice because China is a very big market. They also mentioned that right now IRRI-6, IRRI-9, semi or wholly milled rice and broken rice are the main varieties of rice that are exported to China while Basmati and other top varieties still need to work hard to capture the Chinese market. Federal Minister for National Food Security and Research (NFSR) Fakhar Imam said that last year Pakistan has the best rice production of around 9 million tons, which has helped Pakistan earn $4.75 billion from rice exports, and he expected that 2022 will break all record of rice production and exports. It is also worth mentioning that the latest color sorter machines (technology) and seeds given by China to Pakistan to facilitate the sowing and improvement of rice grains helped increase rice exports to China and also around the world.  
  • Matco Foods to belisted in September

  • KARACHI: Matco Foods, Pakistan’s largest rice exporter, is going for listing in the stock market in September this year to raise funds for its new plant in Karachi. Faizan Ali Ghori, director, Matco Foods, in an interview with The News said that funds to be received through Initial Public Offering (IPO) of Matco Foods in September would be invested on a new plant in Karachi. Matco Foods has major stakes in Basmati rice. Being the largest Basmati exporter of Pakistan, it exports to around 65 countries. “Our brand ‘Falak’ is the largest selling Basmati brand from Pakistan,” he said. Matco processes around 100,000 tons of Basmati per year. It has also been financed by World Bank’s institute IFC. Ghori, who is also a member executive council of Rice Exporters Association of Pakistan (REAP), said Matco was also going in the business of other foods, as seller of imported biscuits, wafers, rice flour, gram flour, oil, pink salt, etc, since Pakistan has one of the highest consumption to GDP ratio in the world.   He said the company was investing in the new business of organic rice glucose and organic rice protein products, which would be used by other companies, mostly in their baby products. “Majority of glucose is extracted from corn, but in Europe and the US, corn syrup is being replaced with rice,” he said. “Since rice is not genetically modified, it is least likely to cause allergy.” Matco’s plant would have capacity of 10,000 tons per year of rice glucose and rice protein, and the plant would start operations this month at a preliminary investment of Rs350 million. Another plant of this type would be established at Port Qasim in the next phase, where a land of 10 acre has been purchased and further funds would be generated from the IPO. “In the next phase, we will develop dextrin (powdered) glucose,” Ghori said. Talking on Federal Budget 2017-18, he said overseas financing for warehousing would be beneficial for non-Basmati exporters, especially those who export to African countries, where Pakistan’s IRRI rice was mostly consumed as staple food. “People can establish their warehouses there and get financed,” he said. “We will have advantage in Kenya market with it.” This was a proposal of REAP, which was incorporated in the budget. Besides African countries, China is also a big market for IRRI. “Last year, Pakistan exported 0.5 million tons to China but this year it (China) is importing from Vietnam and other countries,” he said. Matco processes Basmati in all four types; unrefined brown rice, refined Basmati, parboil (sela) and steamed Basmati. “We are using latest technology and have imported machines from Japan and Germany,” Ghori said. He said alarmingly seed development was not here, so yield was too low. Hybrid seeds provided 90 to 100 maunds per acre in the world while our production was at a maximum level of 60 maunds. “No new variety of Basmati was developed after late 80s,” he said. “A famous Basmati variety 1,121 was developed in India and smuggled in Pakistan.” Matco exports around 80 percent of its production and sells 20 percent in the local market. However, it is planning 50 percent sales in the local market in the coming 5-6 years, as “People here are saving their time of rice cleaning and more people are going towards processed and cleaned rice,” he said. He suggested that Pakistan should focus on seed development, as plant scientists in India were doing, but regretted that the Rice Research Institute was not developing any seeds on commercial level. “Our yields are lowest per acre,” he said. “Mechanical transplantation should be here.” He said REAP has been suggesting the government to allow it to use Export Development Fund to use on farmers’ education and research. Matco is growing organic rice in Punjab while lands in Golarchi, Sindh is under conversion, as it takes three years to land for the conversion for organic plantation. “We have received USDA and EU organic certification,” he said. “Last year Matco exported 300 tons of organic rice.”
  • Agriculture (2016-17) Pakistan

  • While the Finance Ministry is patting itself on the back for the decade-high GDP growth, the ‘up-to-the-mark’ performance of the agriculture sector should be taken with a grain of salt. As per the Economic Survey of Pakistan 2016-17, the growth of the agriculture sector has been 3.46 percent – in line with the target of 3.50 percent. The better performance has been due to “better harvesting of major crops through greater availability of agriculture inputs like water, agriculture credit and intensive fertilizer off-take.” This is all well and good, and overall the sector has indeed seen an improvement over last year’s negative growth of 4.97 percent. However, a look at the crop situation reveals some caveats in the story. Firstly, the growth in cotton (7.6%) and rice (0.7%) production in FY17 is not too impressive given last year’s decline (-29% cotton, -2.8% rice). Wheat production, too, only grew by 0.4 percent over FY16. It seems that sugarcane and maize have been driving the growth, which saw phenomenal increases in production of 12.4 percent and 16.3 percent, respectively. Secondly, the Economic Survey confirms what this column has been writing about over the past year: there has been a decline in the area under cotton and rice in favour of sugarcane, as well as maize. Maize and sugarcane production have seen the most rapid growth over all other crops, particularly in the most current year. This has been due to the increase in their area, which has been the highest this year in recent memory (sugarcane 7.60%, maize 12.0%). Meanwhile, the area under cotton declined by 14.2 percent year-on-year – the lowest it’s been since 1986! The reasons for this are “exceptional losses from previous year’s pest infestation and low domestic prices at the sowing time that pushed growers away from cotton to other competitive crops (sugarcane and maize).” Same is the case with rice, which saw 0.55 percent decline in area in FY17, on top of the 5.23 percent decline last year. Again, the reasons cited are “decline in domestic prices of rice which reduced the area under the crop and growers shifted to sugarcane and maize crop.” With sugarcane and maize seeming to be the only major crops driving growth in agriculture at the moment, and in fact replacing other major crops of cotton and rice, one wonder how long would this trend continue, and could it have implications on the country’s exports?
  • MoU inked to boost rice exports to Saudi

  • MoU inked to boost rice exports to Saudi
    KARACHI: Rice Exporters Association of Pakistan (REAP) and Jeddah Chamber of Commerce and Industry (JCCI) has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) for long-term institutional collaboration between the two trade bodies, a statement received here on Monday said. “Such visits are necessary to increase bilateral trade, commerce, and investment between both the countries and signing of this MoU would be a milestone towards achieving this objective,” Sheikh Mazen Mohammed Batterjee, vice chairman JCCI, told the signing ceremony held in Jeddah.  Batterjee also assured Pakistani rice exporters of Jeddah chamber’s full support in achieving this goal of common good.  Speaking on the occasion, Shah Jahan Malik, vice chairman REAP, said he was upbeat that after the signing of the agreement Pakistan would be able to increase its exports to the Saudi market. “The 14-member joint delegation of REAP and Pak-Saudi Joint Chamber of Commerce & Industry (PSJCCI) is visiting Saudi Arabia from 11-19 May, 2017, as part of trade promotion activities to increase export of rice to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA),” the statement said.  It added that the delegation members visited the major super as well hypermarkets and held meetings with their top management. They also met with major Saudi rice importers of the western region, in one-on-one business networking session organised by the Consulate of Pakistan.  “After the meeting, the Pakistan consulate hosted a biryani dinner for potential Saudi buyers with an aim to promote Pakistani rice, which is equally famous for its long-grain, aroma, and taste across the world,” the press release said. Mian Mehmood, president PSJCCI, told the media that Saudi Arabia is our major trading partner in food sector and imports over $1 billion worth of rice every year. “Pakistani rice exporters should make the most of this opportunity to further increase the share of Pakistani rice in this market,” Mehmood said.   He added that the PSJCCI is playing a very vital role in promoting trade in all the sectors between the two brotherly countries.  Appreciating the initiative taken by the REAP, Shehryar Akbar Khan, Consul General of Pakistan, said the country was constantly striving to improve its technological-agricultural capacity to increase volume of its rice exports in the face of stiff competition from its competitors. 
  • Pakistan World’s Top Groundwater Exporter, India Ranks Third

  • Highly water- and energy-scarce countries like India and Pakistan are losing huge amounts of groundwater and energy because of their food exports.

    The use of standing water to grow rice in India and Pakistan leads to large water loss. Credit: sandeepachethan/Flickr

    The use of standing water to grow rice in India and Pakistan leads to large-scale water loss. Credit: sandeepachethan/Flickr

    Pakistan is the world’s largest exporter of groundwater through its grains export. India is the third largest. Going by per capita availability, Pakistan is almost a water-starved country. The parts of India from which most grains are exported are seriously water-scarce. In 2010, Pakistan exported grains that had cost 7.3 cubic km of groundwater to grow. India exported grains that cost it three cubic km to grow. India is also the world’s largest extractor of groundwater. In 2010, 75 cubic km of groundwater were extracted in India. The trifecta of groundwater depletion for water-intensive crops, grain exports and the use of electricity for mining groundwater add up to a perfect recipe for disaster. Climate change impacts are worsening the situation. The recent report that the new government in (Indian) Punjab has sought New Delhi’s permission to sell excess electricity to Islamabad has been welcomed in power-starved Pakistan. But this electricity will do much more than keep Pakistanis cool during the torrid summer. It will accelerate groundwater pumping in India. Not just precious groundwater, India and Pakistan are also effectively exporting energy when they export grains. Surface water and soil moisture also play big roles in agriculture. Many countries save this water by importing grains. For those who do not, such thoughtless export of groundwater should be the biggest worry, because the timescales for recharging groundwater are significantly longer than those for surface water and soil moisture. The sobering numbers on groundwater depletion and international food trade have been reported in the journal Nature by Carole Dalin and colleagues. About 11% of all groundwater depletion over the planet is involved in international food trade. Over two-thirds of that depletion is by Pakistan, the US and India. Food-water-energy nexus This food-water-energy nexus becomes critical in South Asia. On the one hand, water availability is already more uncertain due to climate change. On the other, there seems to be no accounting for the energy export through agricultural export, though both India and Pakistan are energy deficient countries. Though India has a huge renewable energy development plan, both countries also have major plans to generate energy from coal. That can only worsen the climate change situation. Other unintended consequences of groundwater depletion include land subsidence and saltwater intrusion in addition to potential loss of soil health. Global food supply chains are becoming more susceptible to the effects of climate change. According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, one effect is a rise in intensity and frequency of storms. The Philippines has faced an increasing number of typhoons in recent years. Whenever one takes place, it affects food packaging around the world, because the Philippines is a supplier of coconut based food packaging material to almost all other countries. Groundwater depletion in India In India, wheat accounts for 35% of the total groundwater depletion and rice for about 25%, while fodder, cotton and sugarcane make up the rest. Average groundwater consumption to grow one kilogram of wheat is 812 litres, rice 200 litres (because it is far more dependent on surface water) and maize 72 litres, respectively. In the 2016-17 financial year, India is estimated to have exported 3,00,000 tonnes of wheat, 10.7 million tonnes of rice and 700,000 tonnes of maize. When considering grain exports, it should be noted that the actual water exported is what is embedded in the grains themselves. This is much smaller than the total water used to grow crops, of which a small fraction of the water used in growing crops is recoverable – as it seeps back down to the water table. A much larger amount of water expended is simply lost to evaporation. This loss drives down groundwater tables, and is key to understanding how water intensive crops affect groundwater in a region. Thus the water footprint is critical to monitor as far as food exports are concerned, especially for countries like India and Pakistan that face persistent domestic and international water conflicts. Even the embedded water approach employed by Goswami and Nishad points out that India exports a total water of around 25 cubic kilometres in food exports (not separated into surface and groundwater). The bad news is still that the near self-sufficiency in food production comes with a penchant to export some of it with hard-to-estimate externalities like groundwater depletion and salinisation as well as degradation of soil health and the environment. Exports of meat, sorghum and fruits are significant additional factors. India is also among the largest beef exporters and beef is easily the most water – and grain-intensive food group per calorie. International food trade is a reality of a global economy and India has no choice but to partake in it. But the unintended consequences in the food-water-energy nexus can be ignored only at grave risk to national security. State-level disparities Additional related factors for India are state-level disparities in groundwater depletion. Dry regions of Gujarat and Karnataka are exporting waters to wet regions of the country to satiate the thirst of those who can afford bottled water and soft drinks. India’s middle class continues to grow and its taste for meat and fish continues to place greater demand on water and fodder. India has taken bold steps to be part of the global community in combating climate change by committing to impressive Nationally Determined Contributions to control carbon emissions. Equally bold steps are being taken in terms of investing in renewable energy like solar and wind. India must track the energy intensity of its GDP and the carbon-intensity of its energy production. But it is clear that India must also be vigilant about the groundwater-intensity of its food production as well as the groundwater and energy exports incurred by its grain and meat exports. For its economic growth and development to be sustainable, unintended cascades in the food-water-energy nexus must be diligently avoided. Raghu Murtugudde is a professor of atmospheric and oceanic science and Earth system science at the University of Maryland and is interested in the human actions and reactions in the context of climate variability and change. This article was originally published on The Third Pole. Read original here.