May 11 - 17, 2009

Rice export from the county during last eight months from July 2008 to March 2009 has showed an upward trend, as the export of the commodity was up by 52 percent as to same period of the previous year. According to official figures released by Federal Bureau of Statistic (FBS), about 1,769,880 metric tons of rice costing US$ 1.52 billion was exported during the period of eight month this year.

During the period from July to March 2007-08, the export of the commodity totalled 1,910,795 metric tons, costing US$ 996.662 million. The export of basmati rice has registered an increase of 42.57 percent as compared to same period of previous year. About 624,804 metric tons of basmati rice, costing US$ 810.494 million was exported during last eight month of this year as compared to 751,453 metric tons of commodity at a total cost of US$568.481 million during the same period of last year.

During July to March this year, Pakistan has exported 1,145,076 metric tons of other rice quantities and earned US$ 711.005 million as a foreign exchange reserves as compared to exports of 1,159,342 metric tons and earned US$ 428.181 million in July to March 2007-08 last year.

Rice traders and exporters claimed that prices of Basmati rice have started rising both in the local wholesale and international markets after touching as low as $900 per ton in January from $ 1800 per ton in second half 2008. According to former Chairman Rice Export Association of Pakistan (REAP) Mohammad Azhar Akhtar, Pakistani rice exporters were getting export orders of old Basmati rice up to US$1150 per ton whereas price of new crop rice is also going up. There is a huge demand for Pakistan rice now and we want to use this opportunity to capture world markets.

A rice exporter said that rice prices have stabilized as traders are getting regular export orders from Pakistan's traditional markets of Gulf States, Saudi Arabia, Iran, and some African countries.

Moreover, the process of planting the new rice crop in Punjab would start early next month. In order to get a bumper crop this year also, it is necessary to assure the farmers that they would get reasonable price of their produce.