KARACHI, March 16: Pakistan exported around 2.350 million tons of rice during the first eight months of the current fiscal year between July and February, fetching around $1.164 million.
Around two million tons of non-basmati and 350,000 tons of basmati rice varieties were exported during the period under review.
Basmati rice exports during the current season started at a slow pace which sent jitters amongst exporters.
The slackness in basmati rice demand from Iranian importers was the main cause of concern for Pakistani exporters because high domestic prices of Basmati rice made exports unviable.
Besides, absence of proper banking channels is also causing hurdles for rice exports to Iran.
Jawed Ali Ghori, chairman, Pakistan Rice Exporters Association (Reap), said that basmati rice exports during the first week of the current month (March) picked up and around 21,000 tons were exporters.
This is a positive sign and rice exporters are now hopeful to achieve the annual export target of $2 billion, he added. He further stated that Pakistani rice exports to Iran again revitalised.
During the first week of March 2013, around 6,774 tons of rice have been exported via Quetta to Iran.
Mr Ghori said some unscrupulous elements were creating confusion amongst rice exporters about export target but he was optimistic that it would be achieved because all-out efforts were being made to remove hurdles and issues facing rice export trade.
He said that some problems are being faced in export of rice to China and Iran but after identifying these issues, efforts are being made to resolve them at the earliest.
The Reap chief said that rice exports to Iran have been streamlined, but due to the banking problems rice exporters are facing problems.
He urged the governor of State Bank of Pakistan to extend his cooperation for release of payment to rice exporters from Iranian buyers.
He stressed the need for developing proper banking channels between Pakistan and Iran so that rice exporters could take full advantage of the Iranian rice market.
He further stated that currently rice exporters are not getting their payments despite issuance of E-Form which is creating panic among Pakistani rice exporters.