Drop in rice exports feared as floods damage crop

ISLAMABAD  - Exporters feared a drop in rice exports during the current fiscal year after the recent floods wiped out most parts of the cultivated areas. “The floods have washed away rice crop on thousands of acres. The disaster is so big and it will take time to assess the actual losses to the agriculture sector,” said Muhammad Anwar Mianoor, Senior Vice Chairman of Rice Exporters Association of Pakistan (REAP), while taking to WealthPK. “The rice already stocked is being exported. We have stocks available but these will not be enough if we don’t get more rice by the end of the current season”, Mianoor added. He said there would be shortage of rice for export by January next year, as most of the current crop was wiped out or partially damaged by the floods. Mianoor said the exporters expected the exports to grow over $2.8 billion during the current fiscal year encouraged by $2.51 billion exports during the Fiscal Year 2021-22. However, he added, the floods shattered their hopes and now it would be difficult to maintain the exports. ‘’Usually rice crop gets ready by October, November and fresh rice comes to the market by December. It means there will be very low supply of rice by December,” he said. The REAP representative added that low production of rice would not only hurt exports, but also impact the domestic market. The price of rice for local consumers will also go up, he warned. Mianoor said it was not only rice exporters that will suffer but exports of other agro food products were also likely to reduce this year. He said cotton crop was also damaged by the floods due to which the textile sector will get less cotton for the value-added products. He added that the textile industry will have to import more cotton. Pakistan’s rice exports increased by 23% during the Fiscal Year 2021-22 as compared to the exports of the preceding year 2020-21, reports the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS). During the Fiscal Year 2021-22, over 4.877 million metric tons of rice worth $2.511 billion, including Basmati and non-Basmati, were exported against the exports of 3.684 million metric tons of rice worth $2.041 billion in 2020-21. Exports of Basmati rice grew by 22.09% in the last fiscal year and the export value rose to $695.318 million from $569.493 million in the Fiscal Year 2020-21. The country also fetched $1.181 billion by exporting over 4.126 million tons of rice other than Basmati in 2021-22 against the exports of 3.065 million tons in 2020-21 valuing $1.473 billion.

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