LAHORE  - Comparatively high local price, issues of storage capacity and government intervention will hit the rice export from Pakistan, which is already facing declining trend on cutthroat competition in international market, exporters said.

They observed that more than 70 per cent of the international buyers from EU countries have diverted orders from Pakistan to the Indian millers mainly due to price difference of around $80 to $100 per ton, placing import orders of around 40,000 tons rice there.

Presently, Pakistani rice export price to Dubai is hovering at around $1250 per ton while India is selling this non-basmati rice variety at $1150 per ton. Pakistan basmati rice export price is at around $700 per ton while Indian variety of Pusa (copy of basmati rice) is easily available for $625 per ton. Rice Exporters Association of Pakistan Acting chairman Mohsin Waqar Aziz observed that the government, instead of supporting the exporters, is planning to interfere in rice market through procurement, causing further decline in rice export, depriving the country of precious foreign exchange.  

Mohsin Aziz said that rice export is almost constant mainly due to high prices of rice in Pakistan, as govt does not provide any subsidy to farmers on their agri inputs.   On the other hand, subsidy from Indian government to growers as well as rice exporters, have seriously affected the rice export of Pakistan, causing decline of more than 30 per cent.

The subsidy on rice by Indian government in the name of food security is currently hurting directly millions of Pakistani farmers who are already facing various challenges due to past two consecutive floods in Pakistan. He informed that International market is depressed and all the rice exporting countries are facing tough competition and prices are on declining trend.

The govt, instead of disturbing market phenomena by procuring rice, should compensate farmers by providing them free seeds, free pesticides, free water, free fertilizer, free electricity and other facilities.  He recalled that in year 2008 PASSCO had procured 200,000 M/Tons rice with prices higher than the prevailing market and even after 6 years they could not disposed off these stocks and ultimately government had to face upto Rs.24 billion loss. The REAP Acting chairman also quoted the example of Thailand, where government procured the rice with higher prices and that could not be materialized and upto 17 million tons of rice was damaged, as they do not have the proper storage and warehousing facility and finally they have to face $30 Billion loss to the government exchequer

Mohsin Aziz warned that government involvement in such business activity will be harmful to the private sector who has invested billion of rupees to build an infrastructure and human resources, turning the country into the 2nd largest foreign exchange earner through rice export.  REAP Acting chairman demanded the government to give due consideration to the grievances of the rice industry and give free hand to the Private Sector for playing their positive role, boosting the economy which badly affected due to certain reasons. To a question, on warehousing facility, he said that presently, the rice exporters are utilizing godowns of Trade Corporation of Pakistan and Pakistan Agricultural Storage & Services Corporation Ltd, storing more than 200,000 tons rice there for export purpose and if this facility is withdrawn, the exporters will be unable to procure the commodity, as they cannot arrange alternative arrangement at such a huge level in very short span.

He appreciated the Federal Minister for Food, Agriculture and Livestock Sikandar Hayat Khan Bosan, who has assured full cooperation of the government to provide rice exporters a permanent solution for rice storage facility.