RICE PRODUCTION

S.KAMAL HAYDER KAZMI,
Research Analyst
, PAGE
Nov 30 - Dec 06, 2009

Pakistan being an agro based economy has natural abundance of various agricultural products including food grains of which rice is an important food and cash crop cultivated on about 2.5 million hectares representing over 20% of the total cropped area (food grains) in Pakistan.

Pakistan is the world's fifth largest rice exporting country. No doubt, Pakistan is one of the main producers of the world's finest long rice. Basmati, Super Kernel, Basmati 385, Brown rice, and Parboiled rice are the special types.

AVERAGE PRICES OF THE RICE REGISTERED DECREASE

ITEMS UNIT PRICES IN RS. ON % CHANGE OVER
19.11.09 12.11.09 12.11.09 20.11.2008
Rice IRRI-6 Kg. 32.90 33.41 -1.53 -14.72
Rice Basmati Broken Kg. 42.81 43.37 -1.29 -11.99

In Pakistan, rice prices continue to rise with non-basmati varieties witnessing the highest increase. Rice Exporters Association of Pakistan (REAP) has been successful to improve the Pakistan rice trade by the development of rice milling machinery locally and by importing latest technology & equipments from Japan, England, Europe, USA and Asia to minimize losses & value addition.

RICE EXPORTS

EXPORT RECEIPTS BY RICE
(000' US$)

COMMODITY

OCT 2009 (P) SEP2009 (R) OCT 2008 JULY-OCT
2009-10 (P) 2008-09
A) Basmati 88,615 77,368 94,523 334,743 510,162
B) Others 52,546 42,286 31,032 179,139 192,482
P: Provisional, R: Revised

During March 2009, rice fetched Rs. 10,206.74 million as against Rs. 10,497.67 million in February 2009 and Rs. 10,700.88 million in March 2008 showing a decrease of 2.77% over February 2009 and by 4.62% over March 2008.

During July to March, 2009 its exports amounted to Rs. 117,656.34 million as against the exports of Rs. 61,415.73 million during the corresponding period of last year showing an increase of 91.57%.

Iran was the leading buyer of rice during July to March 2009 with its share of 19.85% in the total exports of this item. Other major buyers were U.A.E. (15.48%), Afghanistan (12.31%), Saudi Arabia (6.26%), Oman (5.78%), Qatar (4.08%), and Kenya (3.45%).

CURRENT SCENARIO

RICE EXPORTS TO COUNTRIES

COUNTRIES JULY - MARCH, 2009 JULY - MARCH, 2008
QUANTITY VALUE QUANTITY VALUE
Iran 286,857 23,349.52 95,800 2,830.78
U.A.E. 230,840 18,213.94 291,242 12,408.92
Afghanistan 250,237 14,481.96 84,060 1,266.51
Saudi Arabia 100,026 7,362.64 81,132 3,466.42
Oman 70,407 6,800.51 90,005 4,099.68
Qatar 63,775 4,794.73 46,857 1,845.26
Kenya 128,851 4,055.46 144,021 2,569.04
Others 780,648 38,597.57 1,077,678 32,929.12
Quantity (tones)
Value (Rs in mn)

Rice is a major export of Pakistan because the country earns substantial foreign exchange through rice exports. Currently, the rice production is expected to drop by at least 20% this year owing to low rains, high load shedding, low availability of water and fertilizers. This may increase the price in the coming days in local market.

Similarly, the government has also not yet announced the procurement of rice, while the production target of 5.9 million tonnes has been given to farmers. The country experienced at least 50% less rains in the current monsoon. The supply of water was also not up to the mark while increase in diesel prices and load shedding also added to the misery.

POST-HARVEST TECHNOLOGY MUST FOR IMPROVING QUALITY

Lack of technology in Pakistan is not only responsible for losses in fruit and vegetable products by 30 to 40% it also hampers national efforts to earn more foreign exchange through exports of horticultural products.

The main objective of the technology is to fulfill international quarantine requirements and ensure enhanced shelf life of perishable items. To meet the challenge for Pakistani fresh produce exports, the Export Development Fund (EDF) has approved establishing two irradiation plants in the country, one each at Lahore and Karachi. The plants will irradiate food items like rice, wheat, cereals, fruits, vegetables, and processed food like spices, through gamma ray treatment.

The ultimate aim of irradiation facilities is to increase the storage life of food material in the most economical way, and to fulfill international quarantine requirements such as disinfections and microbial control of horticulture produce.

In the agriculture sector, one of the important applications of radiation technology in the service to the humanity is post harvest handling and management of foods.

CONCLUSION

Pakistan exported about 2.9 million tonnes of rice in 2008/09 financial year, down from 3.3 million tonnes the previous year, and a possible water shortage has raised concern for the new crop. Therefore, the government must look to enhance the production and improvement of quality of rice in order to promote rice trade.

This is only possible through innovative campaign and efforts at all levels from the stage of growing/cultivation of rice to husking/processing and milling for better marketing and standardization.