Rice exports decline 31pc in two months

Lahore (Zahid ChughtaiFirst two months of the current fiscal (July & August 2020) saw rice exports from Pakistan a decline of 31 per cent decline as compared to corresponding period due to least buying activity in the international market.

During August 2020 Basmati Export from Pakistan came down by 46% from 66,961 tons in August 2019 to 35,917 tons in August 2020. Non Basmati Export came down by 35% from 192,167 tons in August 2019 to 131,876 tons in August 2020. In two months of July/August 2020, a massive decrease of 31% has been recorded (433,357 tons from 624,266 tons), said Hamid Malik an expert on rice value chain.

He said for Rice exports it is a worrisome start of this financial year. For Non Basmati less export from Pakistan is due to short of exportable rice in the month of July/August this year & higher prices as compared to India, he observed.

“We expect a much better export of Non Basmati in September 2020 onward due to arrival of new hybrid rice on the start of month of September. Pakistan got more competitive than India in September 2020 & logistics problems of slow loading & COVID 19 at main Indian port of Kakinada. Slow pace of Pakistan Basmati export trend will continue through September-October this year due to higher prices at mill-gate level in Pakistan as compared to India,” he concluded.

Rice Exporters Association of Pakistan (REAP) Chairman Shahjahan Malik termed it a post COVID-19 lull. He claimed there was panic buying during the COVID-19 by the buyers due to food security apprehensions. However, he hoped that the situation would improve in next few months and Pakistan at the end of current financial year will again be making an export of around $2.5 billion.

Lahore Chamber of Commerce & Industry (LCCI) Senior Vice President Ali Hussam Asghar said that his own business of rice export had seen no activity during this period. Again, he said that it is because the buyers over-estimated the consumption during lockdown period around the world and as they have sufficient stocks, they may go for buying again in next few months.