Can the Recent Flood Affect Pakistan’s Record High Rice Exports?


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Pakistan is the world’s 11th largest producer of Rice. Pakistan’s exports make up 8% of the world’s Rice trade. Rice is the country’s second most significant grain crop after wheat, playing an essential role in the agricultural economy of Pakistan.

Rice is grown in fertile lands of Sindh and Punjab, two major Rice-producing provinces, where millions of farmers rely on Rice cultivation as their primary source of employment. Both provinces account for more than 88 percent of total Rice production.

Among the most famous varieties grown in Pakistan include the Basmati, known for its flavor and quality. Pakistan is a significant producer of this variety. Due to its agro-climatic and soil conditions, Punjab produces 100 percent of the Basmati Rice in the country. The main growing areas of Basmati Rice in Punjab are Districts Gujranwala, Hafizabad, Sheikhupura, Sialkot, Narowal, Nankana Sahib, Chiniot, Gujrat, Mandi Bahaudin, and Kasur. 

Similarly, the main growing areas of Basmati Rice in Sindh are Districts Jacobabad, Larkana, Badin, Thatta, Shikarpur, and Dadu. The most important varieties in Pakistan are Basmati 385, Super Basmati, Basmati 2000, Basmati 515, Shaheen Basmati, PS2, Chenab Basmati, Kissan Basmati, Punjab Basmati, PK-386, IRRI-6, KS 282, KSK-133, and IRRI-9. 

Due to water shortages in key producing areas during the early planting season, the USDA reduced the Rice production forecast for 2022/23 (November-October) from 9.0 to 8.6 million tons. As a result of the strong pace of exports to date, the 2021/22 Rice export grew to a record 5.2 million tons. Rice exports from the nation were also likely to increase to 5 million tons in FY2023 since other Rice exporters have suffered output losses due to adverse weather occurrences. 

Rice Exports volumes by tons

Pakistan Basmati Rice Growth

According to the Rice Exporters Association of Pakistan, the top ten Basmati Rice export markets were the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom, Belgium, Oman, Saudi Arabia, Italy, the Netherlands, Yemen, Spain, and Kazakhstan in 2017-2018. The top ten Non-Basmati Rice export markets were Kenya, Madagascar, China, Indonesia, Tanzania, Afghanistan, Senegal, Ivory Coast, Benin, and the United Arab Emirates.

In terms of unit pRice (per ton) of Basmati, Kazakhstan was paying 1795 USD, the highest in 2017-2018, followed by the United Arab Emirates (1194 USD), Oman (1178 USD), Saudi Arabia (1113 USD), and Belgium (1063 USD).

For Non-Basmati Rice, Afghanistan was paying 428 USD, the highest in 2017-2018, followed by Indonesia (406 USD), China (395 USD), the United Arab Emirates (385 USD), and Kenya (383 USD).

Pakistan exported 3.6 million tons of Rice in the 2020-202. Basmati Rice was 2.9 million tons (80%), and Non-Basmati Rice was 0.7 million tons (20%). In terms of export sales value, Basmati and Non-Basmati accounted for 1.3 billion USD (65%) and 705 million USD (35%), totaling 2 billion USD, down 6% year-on-year. On average, Basmati earned 961 USD per ton, while Non-Basmati earned 459 USD per ton. 

Generally, Basmati Rice export volume and value grew gradually since the 2016-2017 season, whereas Non-Basmati Rice export volume and value declined slowly since the 2017-2018 season.

Rice in Pakistan is a monsoon crop, but the introduction of hybrid varieties in recent years has influenced the timing of sowing and transplanting. Farmers sow hybrid varieties as early as March and April instead of June and July. However, planting timing is heavily influenced by the extent and spread of monsoon rains and underground and irrigated water availability.

The Government warned that a food security crisis is looming. Rains and deadly floods have damaged Rice and cotton crops. According to the United Nations, the recent flood hit two million acres of crops and orchards. About a third of the country was under flood, the Government estimates.



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