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May 2024

Pakistan eyes to cash in on India’s rice export ban

KARACHI: Pakistan’s rice exports are expected to increase in the current fiscal year as the country can take advantage of an Indian ban on rice exports and tap into new markets in Russia and Mexico, a trade body said on Tuesday.

Chela Ram Kewlani, chairman of the Rice Exporters Association of Pakistan (REAP), told reporters that Pakistan exported 3.7 million tonnes of rice worth $2.14 billion in the last fiscal year, despite challenges.

“Despite devastating floods, crop shortage and many other challenges, we exported 3.7 million ons amounting to $2.14 billion,” Kewlani said.

REAP chief said he was optimistic that Pakistan would achieve its target of 5 million tonnes of rice worth $3 billion in the current fiscal year, which started in July.

“India’s ban on rice exports will have significant impacts on global rice trade dynamics. This will give a good opportunity for Pakistan to fill the supply gap and expand its market share in major rice buying countries.”

India, the world’s biggest rice exporter, banned exports of non-basmati rice last month to ensure domestic supplies amid rising food inflation. Kewlani said Pakistan could benefit from higher export volumes and increased revenues as a result of the ban.

“Overall, the ban may create a favorable trade environment for Pakistan’s rice exports.” Industry officials said Pakistan’s basmati rice prices soared to $500 per ton in the international market, up almost $100 from a month ago, as demand surged after the export ban by the India.

Pakistani rice is enjoying a premium for its superior quality and could rise further to $600 per ton in the coming months, one trader said. “Pakistan has a golden opportunity to boost its rice exports and earn valuable foreign exchange as India has banned its rice exports due to drought.” he said.

Pakistan is the world’s fourth-largest rice exporter after India, Thailand and Vietnam. Kewlani said Pakistani non-basmati rice, which was selling at $450 per ton before the ban, had also jumped to $500 per ton as buyers shifted to alternative sources.

He also said that Russia had registered 15 more Pakistani companies to export rice to the country and 12 more were in the process of registration. “This opportunity will also be beneficial for generation of extra foreign exchange for our country, as Russia is a big and potential market for Pakistani rice.”

Kewlani added that a recent visit by Mexican technical experts had gone well and they were satisfied with the compliance of standard operating procedures by Pakistani rice exporters. He hoped that Mexico would soon lift a ban on Pakistani rice and resume imports.

He said Pakistan expected a bumper rice crop this year, with an annual output of around 9 million tonnes. “We hope that we can easily achieve our target of 5 million tonnes worth $3 billion this year.” QR Code

Published Date: August 2, 2023

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