$2.5bn rice export target set for FY 2011-12

KARACHI: Rice export target has been set at $2.5 billion in fiscal year 2011-12 as compared to $1.8 billion for last year, Daily Times learnt.

“Expected rice exports for the current fiscal year would be around 4.6 million metric tonnes with a turnover of $2.5 billion as compared to 3.7 million metric tonnes with a turnover of $2.02 billion in last fiscal year,” Irfan Ahmed Shaikh, Chairman Rice Exporters Association of Pakistan said.

The decision came in a meeting of a delegation of rice exporters with Zafar Mahmood, Federal Secretary Commerce at Trade Development Authority of Pakistan office. Tariq Iqbal Puri, Chief Executive, TDAP along with Senior Officials of Ministry of Commerce and TDAP were also present in the said meeting.

Despite devastating floods last year “we were able to export a quantity of 3.7 million metric tonnes of rice worth $2.02 billion, but this year we are hoping for better crop and getting better export result,” Irfan said.

“The target is achievable if any natural disaster happens to our crops and mainly if the government does not intervene in exports”, he claimed.

Chairman REAP said that a major chunk of basmati rice was exported to Middle East and Iran, however non-basmati rice was exported to Africa and Bangladesh.

“During last year rice exporters tried hard to explore new markets and we are hopeful that South Africa, Indonesia and Bangladesh will be our good markets in current year,” he said.

To a query, he said that India has started rice export recently and is a good competitor “but we will not be affected, as our quality is much better, adding that Thailand and Vietnam are major competitor of Pakistan in commodity export.”

“Although 1.5 million metric tonnes of rice crop was ruined during last year floods, but we are expecting a bumper crop of 7 million metric tonnes by the end of September 2011 due to last year floods,” he claimed.

He said that the performance of rice export during the last 3 year has got better despite hard challenges and tough climate conditions.

“There are a lot of issues and problems which are being faced by rice exporters,” he said, adding that the government should resolve the same on a priority basis especially law and order situation in Karachi, as this will not only help maintain the targets but will also likely go beyond the set targets.

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