FAISALABAD: Pakistan’s rice exporters are looking at a new dawn as prices have started to pick up in the international market after remaining subdued for over a year, renewing hopes of them getting fresh orders.
A surge in demand from Europe and the Middle East has helped the price of rice increase by around 25% in the last one month, according to exporters.
The price of basmati rice at the start of the current season was $600 per ton, while the non-basmati variant was fetching $350 per ton, said Taufeeq Ahmad a rice exporter and former vice chairman of the Rice Exporter Association of Pakistan (REAP), while talking to The Express Tribune.
“Basmati rice prices have increased 33% to $800 per ton, while non-basmati rice prices saw a phenomenal increase of 42%. International contracts are signed at the price of $500 per ton,” he added.
Many exporters felt the heat due to price fluctuation over the first four months of the current fiscal year. The country earned $484.4 million by exporting 1.1 million tons during July-October this year, compared to an inflow of $517 million through 846,000 tons in the same period previous year.
Ahmad said this year could prove to be the best year for exporters who have purchased rice at very low prices.
“An increase in global demand will also help jack up commodity prices in the local market as well. Some intermediaries, millers and traders are still not bringing their stocks to the market in hope that prices will increase further.”
Ahmad added that Pakistan is exploring new markets in Far East Asia, mainly in South Korea, Japan and the Philippines. “The market for Indian rice is shrinking and Pakistani rice demand is increasing. Five years ago, rice exports peaked to $2.2 billion but have fallen since then.”
Meanwhile, the exporter said the government needed to help the rice sector by trying to control the rising cost of production. The Kisan package announced by the government, he said, was not going to be enough to help the sector.
Source: The Express Tribune