Agri Commodities

REAP Urges Pakistan Government To Help It Achieve $5bn Rice Exports

The Rice Exporters Association of Pakistan (REAP) has requested that the federal government develop a long-term strategy, consulting all stakeholders in order to meet the $5 billion rice export target. 

Potential For Rice Exports 

The Chairman of REAP, Chela Ram Kewlani, mentioned in a statement that the rice industry has the potential to export $5 billion of rice annually but that there is a requirement of a long-term policy to gradually increase rice exports. 

He stated that despite numerous challenges, Rice Exporters earn over $2 billion in valuable foreign exchange for the country each year, and that there are numerous opportunities to increase rice exports. He said that there is a need for quality seeds, subsidies and aggressive marketing along with agricultural inputs to increase exports. 

According to the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS), Pakistan’s rice exports increased by 23% in FY21 to $2.511 billion, up from $2.041 billion in FY20. Pakistan’s rice exports stood at 4.877 million tonnes in FY22 which was up from 3.684 million tonnes in FY21, up by 32.35%. 

Achieving Higher Exports 

Chela Ram stated that in the current economic climate, exporters face a number of challenges and require government assistance to increase exports. Pakistani farmers continue to use outdated seeds, which causes Pakistan’s per acre production to be very low in comparison to other countries, he stated. 

Although the country has a number of agricultural research centers and institutes, no new rice varieties have been introduced in recent years. He proposed importing new rice varieties from the Philippines and other countries to increase per-acre yield. 

He went on to say that Pakistan’s rice sector is facing a number of challenges, including seed development, storage, and higher production

costs. The federal government must take farmer-friendly measures to support rice exports, such as increasing cultivation area and providing farmers with quality seeds for improved and higher crop yields, he added. 

The most crucial thing is to create and introduce new varieties of rice in order to boost crop production and bring in more foreign currency for the nation, which is already facing a cash crisis and needs more inflows to stay afloat. 

The REAP intends to increase rice exports to $5 billion over the next few years, but this will require significant government effort, according to Chela Ram. 

He stated that Pakistan faces stiff competition in the global market, despite the fact that African countries, China, and EU countries are the leading buyers of Pakistani rice because the quality of our rice is superior to that of our competitors. 

He also urged the government to assist rice exporters in exploring new markets for their products. “Iran is also a good market for Pakistani Basmati rice,” he said, adding that “due to the lack of a banking channel, Pakistan exporters are unable to export rice to neighboring country Iran.” 

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