Saturday, January 13, 2024

Pakistan to Set New Record For Rice Exports in 2023-24

The United States Department of Agriculture is forecasting that Pakistan's rice exports will set a new record of 5 million metric tons in 2023-24.  This is nearly 30% more than the 3.9 million tons Pakistan exported last year. It is being attributed to a bumper rice crop in the country and strong global demand after India imposed restrictions on its exports. A large exportable surplus has helped Pakistani exporters to offer competitive prices in the international market, but prices are likely to remain high due to an increase in demand, according to S&P Global Commodity Insights. European Union and Middle East are the main export markets for Pakistani Basmati rice while Africa and the Far East have emerged as the key export destinations for non-Basmati rice from Pakistan. 

Top Rice Exporting Countries. Source: Aljazeera

Pakistan is the world's fourth largest exporter of rice after India, Thailand and Vietnam. Last year (2022-23), India exported an estimated 20.5 million tons of rice, almost 2.5 times that of the second largest exporter, Thailand with 8.5 million tons. Thailand was followed by Vietnam (7.9 million tons), Pakistan (3.6 million tons) and the United States (2.1 million tons).

Pakistan Rice Exports. Source: S&P Global

Pakistan is among the world's largest food producing countries. It produces large and growing quantities of cereals, meat, milk, fruits and vegetables. Currently, Pakistan produces about 38 million tons of cereals (mainly wheat, rice and corn), 17 million tons of fruits and vegetables, 70 million tons of sugarcane, 60 million tons of milk and 4.5 million tons of meat.  Total value of the nation's agricultural output exceeds $50 billion.  Improving agriculture inputs and modernizing value chains can help the farm sector become much more productive to serve both domestic and export markets.  

One of the objectives of Pakistan government's Special Investment Facilitation Council (SIFC) is to bring in new investments to modernize farming.  Already, Pakistan has signed a memorandum of understanding with Kuwait for $10 billion worth of projects, including some focused on food security. The government is also collaborating with China Machinery Engineering Corp., an engineering and construction heavyweight, and China’s Famsun, an agriculture equipment company, according to a presentation about the initiative in November seen by Bloomberg

The initial focus of the Green Pakistan program is on transforming parts of the Cholistan desert to farms and fruit orchards As much as 4.8 million acres of the desert may be allocated fir this purpose.  Many parcels of land available for lease are in arid and underdeveloped regions, supporting irrigation initiatives. Some farmers are already working on their own to implement drip irrigation in Cholistan. Back in 2019, Zofeen Ibrahim of The Third Pole publication met one such farmer named Hasan Abdullah. He uses a measured amount of water mixed with fertilizer via drip irrigation to precisely irrigate his 50 acre citrus farm located on the sand dunes. As much as 60% of the cost of installing drip irrigation system has come from the provincial government. 

Related Links:

Haq's Musings

South Asia Investor Review

Chicken Cheaper Than Daal

Meat Industry in Pakistan

Bumper Crops and Soaring Tractor Sales in Pakistan

Meat and Dairy Revolution in Pakistan

Pakistanis Consuming More Calories, Fruits and Vegetables

Eid ul Azha: Multi-Billion Dollar Urban-to-Rural Transfer

Pakistan's Rural Economy

Pakistan Among World's Largest Food Producing Countries

Median Incomes in India and Pakistan


Vineeth said...

Finally, some good news from Pakistan and a brief rest to its "malignant" eastern neighbour. You omitted to mention about onions though. The other day I read a report in DAWN about how exports of Pakistani onions have also shot up after India imposed a ban on its onion exports. Suffice to say, though Modi is confident about a thumping victory in the upcoming elections, he isn't taking any chances with oil prices and price rise of agricultural commodities from production shortfalls, at least until the elections are over. Pakistanis, on the other hand, appears to have become accostumed to sky high inflation for the last couple of years, and are unlikely to mind any further rise in prices of agricultural products in the domestic market that may arise out of increasing exports. Besides, with the Kaptaan and his PTI team having finally lost its "bat" (and balls) for good, the umpire and their new favourites have nothing to fear from the upcoming match as well.

That said, I do hope for a brief respite from the deafening silence in these pages about Pakistan's political turmoil and acute economic crisis. Truly sir, it reminds me of the "Godi" media of our Hindi heartlands who would have us believe that Modi-fied Bharat has become a land of milk and honey, or that celebrity scandals deserve more public attention than pressing social issues.

Riaz Haq said...

Vineeth: "Pakistanis...are unlikely to mind any further rise in prices of agricultural products in the domestic market that may arise out of increasing exports"

Let me try and explain a few basics here.

Pakistan's staple grain is wheat, not rice. Its domestic rice consumption is only a small fraction of its rice production, leaving a large exportable surplus.

On the other hand, the people in large swaths of India, from the east to the south, rely primarily on rice as the biggest source of their daily calories.

Here's the data:

Indians consume over 100 kilograms of rice per capita while Pakistani per capita rice consumption is just 17 kg.,Pakistan%20in%20the%20ranking%20of

"In Pakistan, in contrast to much of South and Southeast Asia, wheat- rather than rice-based products are the staple source of carbohydrates: in 2022, for example, we estimate that rice consumption per capita in Pakistan stood at 17.4kg"

Vineeth said...

Sir, I was referring to the rise in domestic price of onions after Pakistan increased its exports after India ban. I do not know if there has been an increase in domestic prices of Pakistani rice after recent spike in exports.

"The national average price of onion has risen to Rs180-260 per kg during the week ending on Jan 11 from Rs160-250 in the preceding week, according to the PBS data."

"Mr Waheed said exporters had been getting huge orders after the Indian ban, which caused a steep rise in local prices."

For Indian govt, such a rise in prices of food commodities is something they wouldn't want to risk in an election year knowing well how the opposition would use it to its advantage. For Pakistan, it is perhaps a different matter since it is an interim govt ruling now and they wouldn't need to answer for domestic inflation in the polls. Besides, the election landscape already seems to be "fixed" by the establishment to the disadvantage of its "opposition" - Kaptaan and whatever is left of his team.

Secondly, being a south Indian I agree that we here use rice (and millets previously) as the primary staple instead of wheat while the Hindi-belt states in the north use wheat as their staple. In fact, wheat was a rare thing in our parts decades ago before north Indian wheat started becoming available in plenty.

Riaz Haq said...

Pakistan may limit onion exports – what impact could it have on the markets of Europe and Central Asia? • EastFruit

According to EastFruit analysts, persistent rumors that Pakistan plans to limit onion exports have not yet been officially confirmed. However, the likelihood of such restrictions, formal or not, remains quite high. And this could have a significant impact on the market because Pakistan is among the top 5-7 global onion exporters in the world, according to EastFruit.

With this, Pakistan could join the long list of countries that have imposed bans or restrictions on onion exports in the past 12 months. Among these countries: Egypt, Turkey, Uzbekistan, India, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, and others.

The main reason for possible restrictions on fresh onion exports from Pakistan is the rise in domestic prices for this vegetable, which remains one of the main products in the consumer basket. However, it must be taken into account that, firstly, onion prices are still lower than last year’s, and secondly, the local currency continues to devalue against the US dollar, which affects prices much more than the situation with supply and demand.

Read also: Catastrophic price situation for German onions

The main onion markets for Pakistan are Malaysia, Sri Lanka, and the UAE. In general, Pakistan is one of the main exporters of onions to the Gulf countries. Annually, fresh onion exports from Pakistan range from 300 to 450 thousand tons. In 2022, due to floods, a significant part of Pakistan’s onion crop was lost, so the country became a net importer, buying almost 500 thousand tons of onions, mainly from Afghanistan, Iran, and Egypt.

Although mutual onion trade between Pakistan and Europe and ex-USSR Central Asia is relatively small, the impact of this ban on the market could be quite significant. A possible restriction on onion exports could lead to a further increase in onion prices in the Middle East. Already, Pakistani onions are sold in bulk in the UAE at prices of more than $1 per kg. A further increase in onion prices in this region will lead to an increase in onion imports from the EU countries and will make onion exports profitable even from Uzbekistan to the UAE. Accordingly, if the decision is made, it may become decisive in supporting the rise in onion prices in Europe and Central Asia.

Vineeth said...

Where did my earlier comment on Pakistan's onion price rise suddenly vanish, sir? I'm pretty sure it was visible earlier. ;)