Basmati export potential stands at $4 billion

LAHORE: Basmati Growers Association (BGA) has said that Basmati export potential stands at $ 4 billion while country hardly touches $1 billion mark.

Hamid Malhi, President of BGA, while talking to members of Agriculture Journalist Association (AJA) here at LCCI on Wednesday, said instead of increasing output of Basmati rice, its production has seen stagnation for last several years. Among others, Munawar Hasan, President AJA, Sibghat Ullah Vice President, Rana Fawad Secretary General, AJA Executive Committee member Javed Hashmi, Farooq Bajwa and Amin Chatha spoke on the occasion.

He warned of declining trend in output of extra long grain and aromatic Basmati rice if quarters concerned failed to take drastic measures for introduction of high yielding varieties.

He said that ‘we are underutilizing our overall Basmati rice sector as production ranges between 2-2.6 million tons and we export around one million tons’. In comparison, he added, there has been considerable increase in India’s production and export lately.

He said Pakistan should enhance trade ties with India but Basmati exports should not be allowed as it would be against the interest of Pakistan.

We would indirectly contribute in Basmati exports of India as it would be re-exported at much higher rates, he warned.

He stressed the need of adding value to Basmati crop by focusing on by-products of rice. He said huge revenue could be generated from rice husk, tips and powder.

Talking about high cost of inputs, he said urea prices climbed from Rs850 to Rs2000 in just about two years while diesel price climbed to over Rs 100 from Rs 60 per liter in three years. Imposition of GST on inputs and high tariff of electricity have virtually made paddy cultivation infeasible for farmers.

Leave a Reply