KARACHI: The rice exports declined to 0.862 million tons during the first four months (July-October) of this fiscal year against 0.977 million tons in the corresponding period last year mainly due to persistent energy crisis.
The long power outages were hampering supply chain of rice starting from growers, millers, processors and exporters and around 4,000 rice mills in Sindh and the Punjab could not run at full-scale.
In a statement on Wednesday Rice Exporters Association of Pakistan Vice-Chairman Safdar Hussain Mekhri lamented that the rice exporters were faced with dual challenge of power crisis and cheap supply of rice on the world market by Indian exporters.He said that India lifted ban on export of non-Basmati rice after three years and flooded the world market with cheap rice following 15 per cent devaluation of its currency against the dollar in the last three months.
Consequently Pakistani exporters are faced with tough competition on the world market and there is an urgent need that the government should ensure smooth supply of power to rice millers so that export commitments are met timely, Mekhri said.
He said that prime time for rice exports from Pakistan was between October to March because after this other countries including India, Vietnam and Thailand go into second crop harvesting thereby flooding the world market.
He appreciated the Ministry of Commerce and Trade Development Authority of Pakistan (TDAP) for encouraging exporters to diversify into value-added products.
But for setting up value addition projects such as bran oil extraction plant and high-end products like rice crackers etc., need investment which could not come if energy crisis persist.