ISLAMABAD (Reuters) - Pakistan's rice exports fell nearly 16 per cent in the first eight months of the 2010/11 financial year because of last year's floods, a top industry official said on Friday. The world's fifth largest exporter of rice, Pakistan exported 2.38 million tonnes between July and February, down from 2.82 million tonnes in the same period the previous year, according to the Rice Exporters Association of Pakistan (REAP). The export of non-basmati rice dropped 25 percent to 1.66 million tonnes from 2.22 million tonnes during the first eight months of the 2010/11 (July-June) financial year. But the shortfall was marginally offset by a nearly 19 percent rise in the export of basmati rice to 718,187 tonnes, from the previous 603,389 tonnes, the REAP said. "The shortfall in exports of non-basmati rice is mainly due to flood damage to the crop," REAP chairman, Irfan Ahmed Sheikh, told Reuters, referring to floods that began in late July last year and inflicted about $10 billion in losses. Basmati-growing areas were largely safe from the floods. Pakistan had a bumper crop of 6.7 million tonnes of milled rice in 2009/10 and exported about 4.5 million tonnes. Annual consumption is about 2.3 million tonnes. Sheikh said the rice harvest this year would be nearly 6 million tonnes although the government has said the harvest would be about 5 million tonnes. The industry had set a 4 million tonne target for this financial year's exports, but Sheikh said that may be difficult to achieve now as many top traders have switched to exporting wheat for better profits. "Our top 10 exporters are now concentrating on wheat instead of rice as they are getting good profits there," Sheikh said. He said many traders lacked the logistical capacity to deal in more than one commodity at a time, and limited capital encouraged trading in higher profit wheat. Pakistan resumed wheat exports in January for the first time in three years after the government lifted a ban in December, after a bumper crop in 2009/10 and carryover from the previous stocks led to market surplus. Traders are hoping to export up to three million tonnes of wheat this year. By Feb. 16, the country had already exported about 1 million tonnes with sales to Bangladesh, Indonesia and Vietnam.