Due to the impact of erratic weather and heavy rains on the rice crop, India has decided to halt the export of non-basmati white rice. With India accounting for 40 percent of the world’s rice consumption, this embargo has triggered rice shortages in many countries, causing prices to double. India’s decision to impose this ban is driven by the necessity to ensure food security for its vast population, as unpredictable weather patterns have negatively impacted rice production.
Fortunately, Pakistan is poised for a robust rice crop this year. However, we must exercise caution to avoid overextending our exports and jeopardising domestic supply. I urge our government to craft a clear and balanced rice export policy that accounts for the global demand and price of rice while safeguarding our citizens against shortages and price hikes.
Pakistan has achieved commendable progress in wheat cultivation, yielding a bumper crop of 27.5 million tonnes despite challenging weather conditions. Yet Pakistan still needs to import over 2 million tonnes of wheat, primarily from Russia or Ukraine. Regrettably, both of these countries are now engaged in a war, exacerbating the turmoil in the international grain market.
To confront these challenges and bolster our food security, I implore our government to provide enhanced incentives to wheat growers. Encouraging them to expand wheat cultivation and elevate per-acre yields is essential to eliminating the 2 million-tonne deficit and thereby averting the need for wheat imports this year. Such measures will not only enhance self-sufficiency in food security but also reduce our reliance on external sources.